Edgar “Injap” Sia was born in a Chinese-Japanese family, hence the nickname “Injap.”
Even at a young age, he was already used to doing physical work just for him to reach his goals.
He recalled spending his hours after school manning his parents’ grocery store in Roxas City—the place that became his training ground in managing a business.
“While many of my friends were playing or riding their bikes, I would be moving inventory and counting soap.”
He took up Architecture at the University of San Agustin in Iloilo but later on dropped out. At age 20, he started a laundry business and a photo-developing center.
In the year 2003, he came up with an idea of opening a chicken barbecue fast-food restaurant.
His father didn’t agree at first, but after persuading him he eventually let Sia borrow Php2.4 million as a capital.
Mang Inasal Captured The Hearts of Filipinos Through Unli Rice
Sia called his fast-food chain Mang Inasal, which is the Illongo term for Mr. Barbecue.
The first branch opened in 2003 in an unoccupied 250-square meter space in Robinsons Mall Carpark, Iloilo.
They served vinegar-marinated barbeque chicken wrapped in banana leaves and unlimited rice, which was an instant hit for Ilonggos.
With further innovations, Mang Inasal started offering food found in familiar fast-food chains like sisig, grilled pork, bangus, and halo-halo.
The business grew into 26 outlets in Visayas and Mindanao, and soon in Luzon, which they call as the make-or-break city.
“I was not very familiar with Manila because I was born and raised in Visayas. I only visited once a year, and it was usually for very short stays. So I knew I was in for quite a challenge taking Mang Inasal to Luzon,” he said to Entrepreneur.
Mang Inasal gave endless opportunities to locals through sourcing banana leaves from places in Guimaras Islands and bamboo sticks from Iloilo.
After it ballooned to over a hundred branches in 2009, owner of Jollibee Foods Corporation, Tony Tan Caktiong took notice of it and bought more than half of Mang Inasal’s shares.
Mang Inasal Under Jollibee Foods Corporation
In 2010, Caktiong acquired 70 percent of Mang Inasal for Php3 billion.
“I have full confidence that we will reap the benefits of cost improvement of supplies, greater operational efficiency, reliable and response-on-demand servicing, and well structured and professionally managed organization.”
“This will mean increased revenue flow, better margins and limitless opportunities for you—not to mention better service, better quality and ‘mas sulit’ food selection for our loyal patrons,” Sia said to ABS-CBN.
In 2016, Caktiong took the remaining 30 percent for Php2 billion. After that, Sia invested in banking and health maintenance.
From Food Business To Real Estate
After almost two years, Sia and Caktiong formed Double Dragon Properties, a real estate company that aims to develop City Malls in the smaller cities of Visayas and Mindanao.
“I really like the property business since I was in my teens. That’s why I took up Architecture in college because I like to visualize and make it happen. I also like to imagine how one area that may look not okay, can be turned into something relevant,” he said to Inquirer.
“The partnership of DoubleDragon came about after I met Mr. Tony Tan Caktiong in the airport lounge sometime March of 2012.”
“And he mentioned to me that he heard that I was doing some property projects, and I told him that these were just small-scale projects.”
Now Sia holds 37 percent of DoubleDragon Properties and is the CEO of Injap Investments, Inc., and the owner of People’s Hotel.
PH’s Youngest Billionaire Continues To Inspire
In 2017, Sia ranked 21st on the Forbes 50 Richest Filipinos, also taking the spot of the youngest Filipino billionaire at age 41.
And aside from his current business venture, he continues to inspire others through his book, Life Principles by Injap Sia, where he shared his story and tips to aspiring businessmen.
Whatever achievements and successes I had didn’t happen overnight. It is all a product of guidance, hard work, careful planning, and intense passionate execution over many years.
“I was excited to do something, even if I didn’t know what it was. I think you need that feeling—that excitement, that fire—to make your dreams a reality.”
To succeed, you really have to put your heart and soul into it.
Featured Image Credits: Business News, 8List.ph