MANILA - From serving Chickenjoys at a Jollibee outlet, Keith Varias now earns P150,000 a month with his own computer shop, proving that an escape out of poverty is possible with hard work.
Varias put himself through a 2-year IT course working as a fastfood service crew member. However he did not land his dream job as a computer programmer because he lacked a bachelor's degree.
Unhappy with his work as a data encoder, Varias gambled his P17,000 savings, another P20,000 from his mother and a P50,000 loan to start a computer shop in Cavite with an old laptop and scrap tables and chairs.
"Wag niyong kakalimutan kung anong dahilan kung bakit kayo nagsimula at gumawa ka ng paraan para marating mo ang gusto mong marating," Varias said.
(Never forget where you came from and find a way to reach your goals.)
The 26-year-old was honored by Citi as 2017 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year by Citi.
Varias said he helped send 2 of his siblings to college with earnings from his business center and e-sports shop. The only luxury he said he bought was a car.
"Bilang startup lalo na sa inexperienced tulad ko bata pa lang, wala ako masyadong experience kailangan talaga matuto ka mag accounting, matuto ka mag inventory, matuto ka hiring, firing, lahat lahat," he said.
(Being in a startup, especially for someone as inexperienced as I am, I needed to learn accounting, inventory, hiring, firing, everything.)
Varias said he earned just P2 per day when his computer business was in its early days.
As his business grew, Varias invested in more computers and kept a good credit standing to take out a bank loan. He splits his earnings into three - P20,000 for his parents, P1,000 as savings and the rest is reinvested in the business.