Age is truly just a number for this year's speakers at the recently concluded MINT Business and IT Week held last March 19-22.

From as young as 16 to 28 years old, young CEOs shared their know-how, and tips and tricks to thrive as entrepreneurs. From their talks, the students from different business and technology programs learned how to start and keep a business going.

The speakers covered different industries, from fashion, marketing, logistics, and cyberservices. Their talks reflected their values as founders of their own companies and focused on each of their expertise.

Ace Gapuz of Blogapalooza Inc., an influencer-powered marketing firm; and Johan Kyle Ong of OJK, a streetwear fashion label were the fist speakers of the week.

Gapuz, being a maverick of the marketing industry, talked about how to grow a network of people who can sustain a business. Her presentation emphasized the importance of making friends and keeping them, andthe importance of reaching out to people so to make a business grow.

16-year old Johan Kyle Ong immediately made a statement with his silk maroon suit as the youngest speaker— immediately connecting with the audience as young as him. His talk focused on his struggles and realizations in starting his own fashion label. From dealing with adults pushing their own goals to building and sustaining his brand, he kept the crowd engaged with his witty remarks and relatable anecdotes. Lines like “once you get an opportunity, put it in a hoodie” is being balanced out with “nobody knows what they want until they see it.”

The second day welcomed Alexis Lingad, an award-winning founder and CEO of cybersecurity start-up, Cryptors. Inspired by the superhero Batman, he decided to launch his own cybersecurity firm that involves “white-hat” hacking to counter malicious hacking. At 18, he created Cryptors as an underground ethical hacking group first, which then turned into a thriving tech start-up. Now 21, Lingad is currently working on an app called Hackuna, and partnering with various companies to protect their system.

The last day had Josh Aragon of Pushkart.ph, an online grocery delivery service, and Josh Supan of Xpanse, a logistics company that develops online retail websites for brands.

Aragon’s talk zeroed in on how he successfully peddled his business idea of an online grocery delivery. He introduced his way of talking about a potential business through the “Elevator” pitch. “You have to know what problem to solve, or else, your business model won’t be stable because your energy to create solutions will be all over the place,” he said. As the winner of the Final Pitch on History Channel, Aragon also highlighted that business ideas should be directed to really serving the people. “A winning pitch should be innovative,” he added.

For Supan, he also gave a five-pointer that talked about the misconceptions in being an entrepreneur. “Yes, it’s all about woking hard, but you also have to learn how to work smart,” he said. He tackled the ‘cliches’ in business and tried to tweak it into doable, practical knowledge that aspiring MINT entrepreneurs can adapt.

The three-day affair was short, but really fulfilling—having speakers from various industries share their expertise and know-how to help jumpstart ideas from the students who met them. W

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