De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) takes pride in having competent Deaf graduates who are leaders and advocates in their respective communities. To recognize outstanding alumni who have significant contributions to the Deaf community and to the nation at large, SDEAS opened nominations for awards in the areas of leadership, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and professionalism. Nominees went through a rigorous screening process and were all deemed commendable. However, Iñigo Alfonso Asilo of Batch 112 stood out among the nominees because of the impact he has made as a successful entrepreneur.
Iñigo received the Outstanding Deaf Entrepreneur Award from Benilde SDEAS during the SDEAS Alumni Summit 2022 held in November. A candid yet meaningful chat with the SDEAS Alumni Awards Screening Committee revealed that Iñigo meets the following criteria for the Outstanding Deaf Entrepreneur Award.
- has had at least 2 years of successful business operations
- gives work or internship opportunities for deaf individuals
- exemplifies Benildean expressions, values, and ethics in running the business
- has return of investment
- demonstrates a clear foresight for business development and plans for expansion, and continuously updates oneself with the latest in business operations, management, and innovation
Iñigo is the first deaf franchisee and operator of 7-Eleven and now has two 7-Eleven branches in Batangas. He has operated his business for more than five years now – establishing the first branch back in July 2017, and then opening his second in October of the same year.
Initially, Iñigo was only allowed to run the business for five years. But recently, he applied for a business renewal and was granted a permit enabling him to continue his business indefinitely.
Before the pandemic, Iñigo was earning a profit of 70% to 80%. Unfortunately, just like many Filipino entrepreneurs, he and his business were also greatly affected by the pandemic.
Through Iñigo’s sheer grit, the business survived the worst of the pandemic and is now on the mend. Best-selling items now constantly have to be restocked, which is a good sign after years of having little to no foot traffic in the stores.
Beyond making history as the first Filipino deaf 7-Eleven owner, Iñigo also wishes to open up opportunities for his fellow deaf Batangueños. Currently, all of his staff members are hearing. In the past, Iñigo had two deaf employees. One of whom has worked with him for several years. Unfortunately, both had to resign due to personal problems.
Iñigo’s ultimate goal is to prove to his local community in Batangas that deaf people are capable of working and of successfully operating a business even through a pandemic.