Competing in red ocean markets is always a risky venture that asks much from those who want to enter. Yet for Raul Anthony ‘Ton’ Concepcion, who likens his experience to the battle between David and Goliath, his unbreakable can-do spirit, business savvy, and innovative thinking led Concepcion Industries from dire straits to one of the most profitable appliance companies in the world.

Mr. Concepcion’s “secret sauce” is made of three components – an entrepreneur’s spirit, a family’s heart, and the discipline of a multinational corporation. For a company to succeed, the initial drive when it was founded must be kept in its blood, its members must feel kinship towards each other as a united family, and its staff should have the discipline to always maintain professional excellence. These three alone, however, must be held together by a binder, the heart and soul of the corporation – which is the role that Mr. Concepcion plays.

When Mr. Concepcion joined the family business, Concepcion Industries Inc. (CII) in 2004, the company’s refrigerator business was experiencing operational difficulties and was struggling to survive. His first major decision required the creation of a more focused and accountable team, thus, Concepcion Durables, Inc. (CDI) was founded in 2006, with Mr. Concepcion as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Using the Philippine market as an advantage, Mr. Concepcion used consumer insights to study the needs of households and small businesses around the country. Stories of families lacking refrigerators and relying on “sari-sari” or small stores for their needs inspired CDI to manufacture the Condura Negosyo ref, designed to meet the needs of small businesses. The custom made refrigerator had more storage space, faster cooling, and more durable wires and plastic parts. Despite the fridge being sold at a premium price, it was accepted in the market because of its many features.

This innovation propelled Condura to become the number one refrigerator brand in the country. As of year-end 2017, CDI was able to increase sales from 560 million in 2007 to 3.9 billion, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.4% and profit after tax from 6.1 million to 353 million, a CAGR of 50%. The remarkable success of Condura catapulted a once-floundering company to the peak of Philippine refrigerator companies and netted for Mr. Concepcion the Business World Award for Excellence and an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist nomination in 2011.

Mr. Concepcion’s experience with Concepcion Industries demonstrates how great things can come from small ones – whether this refers to creating a successful company from the refrigerator of a sari-sari store to making the country a better place. An avid runner and scuba diver himself, he founded the Condura Skyway Marathon in 2008, where participants have ran for charity for causes such as the Tubbataha Reefs, the whale sharks of Donsol, the PNP-SAF, and the Hero Foundation – the last of which donates money to provide educational support to children, especially from Mindanao. By sharing what he has, and what he has learned, and through what he has accomplished, Mr. Concepcion shows us that there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome.