The business started out almost 50 years ago in a makeshift outdoor office under a “santol” (cottonfruit) tree. However, never in her wildest dreams did Natividad “Naty” Cheng, co-founder, chair and Chief Executive Officer of Multiflex RNC Philippines, think that the business she started with her late husband Robert Cheng would grow this big.
“We had limited funds and faced other challenges that normally go with business start-ups. But the most important thing was we never gave up. We paid all our debts down to the last centavo, and we dreamt really big. And the only way we can grow big is by continuing to innovate,” explains Mrs. Cheng.
It was exactly in year 1968 when the late Robert & Naty Cheng founded the company. Over the years, Uratex grew to become a leading foam and mattress supplier in the country. The company also introduced other cutting-edge features and made improvements in its manufacturing systems and processes, products including research and development capabilities. These efforts also gave birth to other companies within the Uratex Group such as Roberts Automotive and Industrial Parts Manufacturing Corp. that supplies automotive foam and other auto parts to top Japanese car manufacturers. There is also RGC Textile, INOAC Japan, Six Inch, Uratex Monoblock, Uratex Premium and Uratex Ready-Wrap Containers.
The success was not achieved overnight, avers Mrs. Cheng, and now, aside from the Philippines, Uratex are now exporting to other countries such as Australia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. She said they will continue to discover other countries to export Uratex that will hopefully capture the hearts and minds of people from other parts of the world.
They also invested in expensive yet top-quality foam-making machines from Germany and travelled to other countries to be in-tuned with global technologies and trends. “Through this, we were able to gain a global outlook and implemented high operating standards.”
With Mrs. Cheng’s perseverance, resilience, and keen business acumen, she was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year 2017” by global accounting firm Ernst & Young. With this year’s theme “Igniting Innovation,” Mrs. Cheng bested other entrepreneurial luminaries in the country. She will have the honor of representing the country at the World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards to be held in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2018.
In representing the Philippines, the 71-year-old Mrs. Cheng, was also voted Master Entrepreneur of the Year for her management excellence, will get the chance to show the world the strong entrepreneurial movement in the Philippines.
‘We’ve always believed that through innovation, Filipinos can conquer anything, any place in the world. We thank the millions of Filipinos who support and trust Uratex. Without them, Uratex will never become what it is today. It is just right that we continue to bring them the best products that will last and they can be truly proud of. We have invested not just in good machines but also promoted ingenuity and consistent creativity. We knew that we can compete with the rest of the world, and the opportunity to show what Uratex is all about will indeed be a gratifying experience not just for Uratex but for the entire Philippines.”
For a business that started with only a capital of P4,000 and founded Polyfoam Chemical Corporation, Uratex grew by leaps and bounds, now with more than 1,000 retail establishments nationwide including intensifying expansion in Visayas and Mindanao.
As for people who may want to go into business, Mrs. Cheng has this piece of advice. “Sa mga gustong mag-negosyo, kailangan natin ng honesty, integrity, sipag at tiyaga, tipid at tiwala sa sarili.” Kailangan tapat tyo sa mga customers, suppliers at ating mga empleado.” (“Practice honesty, integrity, diligence, frugality, never lose self-confidence and remember to always treat customers, suppliers and employees fairly)”. In business, there is no easy money; you need long-term vision and planning, and always practice positive thinking and do not lose heart because growing a business is a real challenge.”
Mrs. Cheng was again profuse in her thanks to Filipinos for their support. “They were the reason why Uratex became what it is right now. Their trust is what kept us going for the past 49 years so we gave our customers the best products they deserve. Next year will be our golden anniversary, and we have already laid out plans to make our 50th year our grandest year yet as we continue to innovate in the coming years,” declares Mrs. Cheng.
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