In a few months, Natividad Cheng, co-founder and CEO of the Uratex group of companies, is flying to Monte Carlo in Monaco for the 2018 World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Cheng, who is now in her 70s, will represent the country alongside fellow successful entrepreneurs from different parts of the globe.
In October 2017, she was named the “Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines” in the annual search conducted by the SGV Foundation, in conjunction with Ernst & Young (EY) Global. SGV & Co., the country’s largest professional services firm, is a member firm of EY. This recognition paved the way for her to represent the Philippines in the 2018 World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards to be held this June in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
In 1968, Cheng and her husband founded Uratex with only P4,000 as their initial capital. In order to save money, even the bosses had to do legwork.
"Kaming dalawang mag-asawa mismo nagtatrabaho. Ako naman sa operations, 'yong asawa ko kahit delivery ginagawa niya 'yon para lang makatipid kami sa driver," she recalled in an interview with Cathy Yang.
Despite financial limitations, nothing stopped Cheng and her team from innovating their products and making them suitable for the Filipino consumer.
"Talagang noon pa, gustong gusto na namin na ibibigay namin ang pinaka-best product sa consumer natin," she quipped.
This leadership style and vision resulted in a strong camaraderie inside the organization. Cheng may be the successful CEO in the corporate world, but for most of her employees, she is their doting 'Auntie Naty.'
Turning 50 in 2019
Fast-forward to present time, Uratex is now one of the most trusted Filipino brands. In 2013, they received the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands Platinum Award for mattresses under the household products category.
They now have 21 plants nationwide, supplying textile, food packaging, and automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products. Uratex has also become one of the key suppliers to some prominent companies in the hotel and furniture industry.
As they celebrate their 50th founding anniversary in 2019, Cheng said Uratex will continue to be a proud Filipino brand-- with stronger vision and mission for the decades to come. And this, she said, is the very reason of her eagerness to represent the country at the 2018 World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
"Pupunta ako [sa Monaco] para naman maangat naman natin ang Pilipino na lumaban sa work na quality, at mayroon din tayong innovation," she said.
Cheng said these awards inspire them to make world-class products, like the Uratex foam she has been using for 16 years now.
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