National Bookstore opens school for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs

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(Source: ABS-CBN News | Jun 4, 2018)

Angelica Buli is chasing her dreams of becoming a businesswoman in National Bookstore’s school foray, hoping to replicate the success of its founder, who is acknowledged as an icon in the retail industry.

Half of a four-story mega outlet was converted to NBS College and outfitted with classrooms and sports facilities for up to 1,000 students in time for the start of the tertiary school year in August.

“Yung may-ari, business ang interest. Ang course niya, business din. So maraming experience na maituturo sa bata,” the 18-year-old Buli’s mother, Emma, told ABS-CBN News.

She was referring to Socorro Ramos, known to employees and colleagues as “Nanay Coring.” Ramos started what would be the country’s largest books and school supplies retailer from a small shop in downtown Manila.

The school is headed by Ramos’ grandson, Adrian Ramos, who will also teach business management and ethics, said NBS College vice president for administration June Sebastian.

Another professor is RJ Ledesma, co-founder of the Mercato Centrale food park and Manang’s Chicken.

“We value the fact that you need to hear it from someone who has done it. You’re hearing straight from someone who has learned it through a very successful family-owned business,” said Sebastian.


Businessmen are betting big on education, as Filipinos grow more affluent and with the new system adding 2 more years to basic education.

Ayala Corp unit AC Education in February acquired the National Teacher’s College, raising the number of students in its school portfolio to 34,000.

The Ayala Group is also in talks to merge with the Yuchengco Group’s iPeople, which operates Mapua University.

Emerging tycoon Dennis Uy last year acquired hospitality school Enderun, expanding his portfolio which includes Phoenix Petroleum, Chelsea Logistics and the local operations of Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart.

The family of the country’s richest man, Henry Sy, has a controlling stake in Manila-based National University and has announced plans to build a P1-billion campus in Calamba, Laguna, south of the capital.

Investing in education helps companies diversify their portfolios, said Reginal Capital managing director Luis Limlingan.

“If the educational sector is profitable and if you are doing a great public service then I think it makes perfect sense to go into this space,” Limlingan told ABS-CBN.


NBS School is banking on the success story of Nanay Coring to attract students and mold the next generation of businessmen, said Sebastian.

“The flagship (course) will be entrepreneurship because that is the legacy National Book Store is known for which is the entrepreneurial spirit of the Ramos family,” she said.

With such mentoring, Sebastian said NBS College hoped to produce graduates who are “job-ready and reality ready.”

National Bookstore spent some P100 million to P200 million to build a library, computer rooms, classrooms, and basketball and volleyball facilities on the third and fourth levels of its building along Quezon Avenue.

“All the new books, all the most difficult books to find, we will get it for them, and they will use it for free,” Sebastian said, adding students will also get a 5-percent discount on school supplies.

NBS College targets to have at least 400 enrollees before the academic year begins in August. It will also offer workshops and short courses in journalism, robotics, financial literacy, and personality development among others, she said.

Should the venture succeed, National Bookstore might convert more stores into schools, she said.

“Once we grow, then we will move to other locations,” she said.


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