Remembering entrepreneur Brendan Yu

by Armando Bartolome

Posted at Jul 25 2014 01:20 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2014 11:33 PM

Editor's note: The Business Mentor is a weekly business column by Armando "Butz" Bartolome, president of GMB Franchise Developers Inc. and chairman of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc.

Brendan Yu, August 10, 1961- July 07, 2012

MANILA, Philippines - In one of the conferences I was invited, I heard a speaker say entrepreneurs are stewards and not owners.

As I pondered on his statement, I must say there is truth in it. To start a business may not be for all. More so in growing and making it successful is another thing. We have seen many enterprises, which come and go. Everyone may dream of getting into business and making so much money to last more than a lifetime.

However the dream may just remain a dream. Those who pursued will agree that the beginning was an uphill. At times, there are those who almost gave up due to heavy pressure. What may be the anchor was their passion, which others may not have.

Pressures can be in many forms like financial loses, inconsistent quality output and too many customer complaints. Perfecting a business is an ideal. I have yet to hear somebody say that his business is already perfect with no need for any changes at all.

This article is a tribute to a great entrepreneur who had a passion for helping others.

Two years ago, as my family and I were preparing to attend church services, I saw a SMS from my friend Philip Huang. When I opened it, I learned our dear friend Brendan Yu suddenly passed away.

For many who may not know him, Brendan who was about to turn 51 years by August 10, was a combination of sorts. First, he made his way as a working student. A graduate of electrical engineering, he worked in Jollibee as a rank-and-file employee.

Later, he was promoted and had a stint as a part of the management team assigned in Taiwan. There were other businesses he established.

Through hard work, he was able to invest and become a franchisee of Jollibee in Batangas City. He was not content with one, and got another branch.

He won the much-coveted title of Jollibee Franchisee of the Year for 2008. This meant he surpassed the benchmarks set by the franchiser.

Brendan never stopped at working on his businesses. His branches are well-managed because he empowered his employees to think like an entrepreneur.

However, one distinct characteristic of this person was his love for teaching. I just didn’t know how he juggled his time, but you wouldn’t believe he was teaching in College of Saint Benilde (CSB), Enderun College and University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). Every time we meet even for coffee, which he loved, he would be working on his sturdy laptop, doing his lesson plan. On top of it he was fond of keeping himself updated by purchasing books.

In one of our get togethers, I asked him why he spent a great deal of time teaching?

Without batting an eye, Brendan said "no better legacy can be left to the new generation but to teach the practices of being in business... And a better teacher should be the one who practices what he preaches."

He further added that it is not because students are enrolled in better schools that success is expected but more of the applications the student absorbed. These were such great words of wisdom, which were implanted in the hundreds of his students.

The country indeed lost a brilliant mind in Brendan. However I believe Brendan set an example for many entrepreneurs to share and share alike. Almost every time I invited him to give a talk, he would even beat me in arriving much earlier in the venue. He developed such skill of making his audience laugh to their hearts' content yet imparted a lesson to remember. He did touch the lives of not just students, but from all walks of life including fellow entrepreneurs.

As stewards of business, we have to review how far we have guided and molded people in our business to take over.

The life we have is on borrowed time. Nobody can predict when The Almighty can call for us. What matters is how far and excellent have we been taking care of the talents, skills and money God has shared with us?

To Brendan Yu, your efforts are not wasted. I am sure all your hundred of students will be creating multiplier effects of what you taught them. You did teach and inspire me too, you know that. Your words will always echo in our hearts and minds despite challenges! Adios Bossing!

For questions and more information, you may contact Armando "Butz" Bartolome by email: [email protected] His website is