Can you establish your own business during your second year in college? Anthony Laborte did just that! Learn more about him in this podcast!
Who is Anthony Laborte?
Anthony Laborte is an entrepreneur who started up his company while he was just a second-year college student. The name of the business was IIPI. IIPI stands for International Industry Partners Incorporated.
What’s interesting was that during that time, Anthony did not have any direction concerning why he named his business as such. It was a very generic name because, at the time, he didn’t know what to do yet. He was only sure that he wanted to start his own company.
IIPI was founded in 2009 and was incorporated in 2010. To keep up the growth, Anthony had to do a few things. At first, he was just around his dad’s office. He was just sitting down at the conference table researching ideas while also taking in the hustle and bustle of their family business.
He was there mainly as a spectator. Anthony studied the ins and outs of the company while also trying his best to search for his own path.
This was essentially his mentorship period with his dad. Unique to their relationship was that Anthony didn’t have to ask for anything from him. Rather his dad would shower him with knowledge and wisdom in every opportunity that he got.
Anthony’s dad was a mechanical engineer. He used to work for a bottling company like Coca Cola and San Miguel. From there he went to the bottle manufacturer. At first, he did maintenance and installation of equipment. Eventually, he was transferred to sales and became the country manager for that company.
It’s because of this that their family business was incorporated. His dad’s company needed someone to help install their equipment locally. He had been doing this for about 30 years.
How did your father come about the opportunity to start your family business?
During that time, there was no installer of the equipment that his father was selling. Because of this, his father thought of setting up one such business himself. The equipment that they sold was very expensive. It was the whole package, all the machinery involved in the turn-key.
Anthony’s father was in his 40s when he started their business. Aside from that, he managed it while still working for a European company. In the morning, he would be there managing his business and during the evening, he would focus on his duties with the other company.
Why didn’t you go into the family business?
Anthony didn’t want to do so because it was difficult and confusing for him. He wasn’t an avid supporter of the concept of his dad being his dad at home and being his boss at work. He thought it was hard on the relationship that he and his dad already had.
It was different in my case. It wasn’t exactly because of my father’s temperament, but it was the advice that he has given to me over the years. Growing up he would tell me to look for another business or climb the corporate ladder. Just as what people say, when you’re a Chinese person in the Philippines, you would be in one of two businesses, Textile or Hardware. My family was into hardware. In the long run, he discouraged me from going into it again because the profit was small and the processes were complicated.
It stamped into my mind. So when the time came, I tried to enter corporate for five months, I couldn’t take it. At that time, SEO Hacker was at its infancy, and after a lot of prayers and what felt like a really long time, I finally got my father’s blessing to focus on SEO Hacker.
It wasn’t because my father and I might not have been able to work together, rather the business was not thriving, so it didn’t make sense to continue it.
What gave you the initiative, the mindset to start a business early?
It was mostly because of his father. Anthony’s father told him and his siblings that they only had two choices after they graduated from college. It’s either they become an entrepreneur or an employee. Anthony and his siblings saw both from their father.
There was a time when he considered going corporate. He never had an experience of his own. Everything that Anthony did was based on trial and error or what he’s seen from his family business.
You studied engineering at De La Salle and Business at CSB. Which of them did you like the most?
Anthony heavily enjoyed business more than the former. He started his business early on in his Business course. He even said that he wished he could have started it sooner. However, he also believes that it was only right as time has helped a lot in him becoming more mature.