MANILA, PHILIPPINES – For entrepreneurs, the first few years of a business are often the most challenging. This is something that Mega Global Corp. CEO William Tiu Lim, who built the sardine behemoth from scratch, knows all too well from personal experience. Seeing one’s ideas translated into a real business takes tremendous courage, substantial resources, and a whole lot of planning. Mr. Tiu Lim also realizes that most entrepreneurs would benefit from a mentor to guide them through their start-up years, but few are fortunate enough to find someone to help show them the way.
To help young entrepreneurs get their businesses started, Mr. Tiu Lim has agreed to be a judge for the Final Pitch, a reality TV show that stars aspiring entrepreneurs with a minimum viable product or prototype, and are looking for additional funding. The show is loosely inspired by Emmy Award-winning American shows Shark Tank and The Apprentice. Contestants have a chance to present their business concepts, and selected participants qualify for the final business bootcamp. By the end of the season, winners win funding from mentors and investors. At the same time, The Final Pitch gives the Filipino audience a chance to learn from the investors and mentors in the show.
For Mr. Tiu Lim, a very busy CEO at the helm of the company behind the Philippines’ leading manufacturer and distributor of sardines and canned goods, participating in the show is a form of philanthropy where he shares his most valuable resource, time, to help young entrepreneurs with their start-up businesses. By sharing time, he serves as a father figure to the new entrepreneurs, sharing the wisdom and knowledge from his many years in business.
This is, in fact, his third time to be a judge for the show. “I want to help aspiring entrepreneurs by mentoring them until they become successful in their endeavors,” he shares. Mr. Tiu Lim recalls that when he started his company, he had little help and resources, and now that he has achieved success, he wants to pay it forward and impart his experience. This is why when Final Pitch executive producer John Aguilar, a friend of his son, approached him with the idea, he saw an opportunity to help new entrepreneurs and agreed to be a judge.
Following his interactions with the contests, most of who are founders of tech startups and food service businesses, Mr. Tiu Lim sees that there is still a lot that can be done to help and create a bigger impact. Yet he also acknowledges how the show actually helps these entrepreneurs. “They meet experienced mentors who can share knowledge and learnings. They gain access to resources, connections and network. It is like they enter a school of business without textbooks. These are things you can’t even learn in a classroom. They get unbiased view of their business model if they are feasible or not and how to improve. They get mentorship from these experienced judges,” he said.
At the same, being a judge has been a learning experience for him. He has also learned so much from these start-up entrepreneurs, gaining a better understanding of the next wave of businesses, especially those that use new technologies and are digital.
Mr. Tiu Lim has big dreams for Filipino entrepreneurs in general. “We want to offer a Philippine version of start-up cultivation, making sure that they actually earn money.”
Having led Mega Global Corporation to where it now is, Mr. Tiu Lim hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs with his journey. His message to those who are starting out in their endeavors. “Don’t be afraid to risk things for business and ask for help or partner with others who can make you better.”
Catch Mr. Tiu Lim at Final Pitch Season 4 on CNN Philippines which will premier on the last week of September 2019.