“Incessantly creative and unstoppable are two words that come to mind when describing Annaliza Laxamana. The Manila-based serial entrepreneur has been founding and running businesses since she graduated from college, with a long string of achievements. Her very first business has been running successfully since 1994; she is an award nominee for the prestigious ISES Esprit Awards from the International Special Events Society (ISES) in the categories of The Best Industry Contribution; and, after finding her passion as a visual artist, she recently had her solo art exhibit in Manila. Her secret to success? Dreaming big and working hard for it.

“I have always been an entrepreneur. I worked in a company only for about a year after graduating but stopped because I wanted to set up my own business. I was earning well and my family wasn’t happy about my decision but I was so confident that I was going to be successful that I went ahead anyways. In 1994, I set up my first company, Modern Ads & Promo Inc., with less than 2,000 pesos and it has been running since then. Later, I founded The NextStepEvents Inc, an events marketing & management company, and in 2014 I founded LEADimpact Asia Inc., a company committed to the development and empowerment of business professionals in the Asia-Pacific region. Recently, I added Gush Souvenirs & Café, a social enterprise in Boracay. I am most proud of the fact that my first company is still running after so long.  I had a vision and have always worked hard and I believe this the key recipe for success.”

“I am too passionate – I am a “go, go, go” person. Sometimes I skip important steps in the heat of things. Even to this day, I am always coming up with new ideas and sometimes I discuss business partnerships and leave details ‘to be figured out’. This is definitely something that I need to improve and be more careful on.  Enthusiasm and passion are great but you also need to have a steady head and be very cautious about who you partner with and what you promise.”

“About 10 years ago, I set up a voice recording company for young artists. I really wanted to support them and got so carried away that I didn’t plan much. It was open for one and a half years and then I had to close it down. I have learned that helping others cannot be the reason for starting a business. The business needs to have its own purpose and be sustainable.”

“I love sharing my story and supporting young entrepreneurs. I didn’t have any mentor or advisor when I set up my businesses. I did everything on my own and somehow figured it out. I didn’t even have my own computer when I started. I would go to the computer shop to make proposal letter for my clients. As much as I can, I try to help out young entrepreneurs by sharing what I have learned along my journey”

“The best piece of advice I ever got was from my dad: ‘Dream big and work hard for it’. I would give the same advice to any young and aspiring entrepreneurs.”

“In October 2014, I registered for a painting class to try out something different. I never thought that after a few months I will have my first women art show. Another unexpected gift of talent. I find painting very peaceful and relaxing; it’s my own time.”

Company: Modern Ads & Promo; the NEXTSTEP events; LEADimpact Asia; Gush Souvenirs & Café
Location: Manila; Boracay
Founded: 1994
No of Employees: 100

Women-owned & led