The Glenfiddich Where Next Club Opens for the Filipino Mavericks

In the quest to find the next success story among established and emerging businesses, Glenfiddich returns to the mountain top with a new set of antlers to inspire Filipinos to venture beyond their comfort zones

“That’s just how the world works,” declares someone who has accepted that a situation cannot be changed and, therefore, they must carry on. It sounds pretty optimistic and comforting—confident, even—giving us an impression that someone has got everything figured out to be letting all things fall into place on their own.

Mavericks think otherwise. Hardly a day goes by that you would hear them say, “If it’s meant to be, it will be,” “It is what it is,” and “Rules are rules.” One cannot simply muzzle these free-spirited beings; there’s always some fighting left to be done to disrupt the status quo, and an opportunity to look where to head next.

Glenfiddich representatives with esteemed industry leaders
The Where Next Club [L-R]: Martin Cu, previously the Philippines Country Head of NinjaVan; Anne Gonzalez, President of Terry S.A. Inc.; Manny Ayala, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Endeavor Philippines; Arturo Lozano, Southeast Asia Brand Manager (Malts) at William Grant & Sons; Kate Osmillo, William Grant & Sons Philippines Ambassador; and Viel Iral, Portfolio Manager at William Grant & Sons

Such is a philosophy that has guided Glenfiddich’s history of growth for over a century, and reputation as the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky since 1887. This year, in a fireside chat at the Gallery by Chele, Glenfiddich unveils the “WHERE NEXT CLUB,” aiming to awaken the maverick spirit among Filipinos and inspire them to embrace uncertainty for a meaningful success.

“Glenfiddich, which launched the [global program] last year, has developed a stepping stone for entrepreneurs and businesses embodying the core values of the brand.”

Kate Osmillo, Philippine Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich

Aligned with the brand ethos, the WHERE NEXT CLUB is in search of an innovative venture that’s ready to scale up and create a lasting impact in the Philippines and, eventually, the whole world. 

To commence this initiative, Glenfiddich has partnered with three esteemed industry pillars. Each one is a trailblazer themselves who embody the core values and vision of Glenfiddich. These three partners—namely, Manny Ayala, Anne Gonzales, and Martin Cu—would help determine the startup to join the WHERE NEXT CLUB, providing strategy and one-on-one mentorship that will eventually propel the business and its founders to the top. 

Developing acumens

Tall glass imprinted with Glenfiddich deer logo
The Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12, 15, and 18 Years concoctions

Manny Ayala is the Managing Director of Endeavor Philippines, a global nonprofit organization committed to accelerating the growth of high-impact entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, Endeavor Philippines has provided support to 30 different companies, which generated over $500 million in revenue last year, and has generated over 29,000 jobs in just eight years.

“Compared to 10 years ago, there is much more startup activity, startup funding, and startup support available [at present],” Manny observes. “We have a unique service orientation that is globally recognized. You see it in industries like customer service, tourism, nursing, and frontline retail. I would say that [being service-oriented] is the heart.”

When asked about the qualities that he deemed worthy to take part in the WHERE NEXT CLUB, the Endeavor PH founder was quick to answer that he is looking for someone with a purpose-driven mindset. “Are they deeply committed to pursuing something much larger than themselves,” Manny probes, recognizing that discernment is a top priority in order to thrive in the industry.

Balancing opportunism and altruism

Glenfiddich WHERE NEXT CLUB guests from the left Iacopo Rovere, Manny Ayala, and Anne Gonzales
CloudEats founder Iacopo Rovere posing with Manny Ayala and Anne Gonzales at the Glenfiddich photo vignette

Dubbed as the “Flip Flop Queen,” Anne Gonzales is the Co-Founder and President of Terry S.A., a retail company housing coveted lifestyle brands such as Havaianas, Dupe, Bensimon, Common Thread, and Aura Athletica. In 2016, she landed on the list of Go Negosyo’s Top 55 Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs for pioneering original concepts and building brands from scratch.

A founder herself, she admits that sometimes the founder mentality is to try to do everything, even if some aspects of the business are not their strength. “There is resistance to entrusting certain responsibilities to others, or unwillingness to invest in specific expertise,” she explains. “But an astute startup will recognize that, at some point, in order to scale, one will need to build the right team… Investing in good people leads to more efficient operations.”

Organic greens, piparras, and yuzu sorbet as appetizer
Organic greens, piparras, and yuzu sorbet paired with pomelo whisky sour

Anne Gonzales challenges self-starters and problem-solvers alike to ask themselves: “Am I trying to solve a real and relevant problem, or address a need [with the ideas that I want to propose]?” With this question comes the realization of the impact it will have on the industry, as well as the tenacity and amount of grit it takes to see it through.

“My hope is for them to provide solutions to real problems that exist today, even if it means starting small, and that they add real value to the landscape, and do so with humility, an open mind and a genuine willingness to do what it takes,” Anne recommends during the launch of the WHERE NEXT CLUB.

Banking on patriotism

Glenfiddich WHERE NEXT CLUB guests Daniella Roi and Jaime Benedicto
Gracing the event are content creator Daniella Roi (left) and BANTU Ph founder and executive director Jaime Benedicto (right)

Martin Cu is a builder and scaler of one of the top startups in Southeast Asia, NinjaVan. Under his helm, the courier services company grew from 0 to 10,000 workers in the Philippines, and eventually dominated the country’s logistics environment. Currently, he is a partner at 500 Global, an early-stage venture fund leading the growth equity investments in Southeast Asia.

In view of the upcoming Glenfiddich’s WHERE NEXT CLUB, Martin Cu hopes to find someone who has a big problem that they are trying to solve. “[I’m looking for] a startup that focuses on making the lives of Filipinos better,” he states. “I hope [it is someone who] would lean into our uniqueness as Filipinos, and not just execute copy-and-paste ideas from abroad.”

The Glenfiddich 18 Years on antler-shaped bottle holder
The Glenfiddich 18 perched on the brand’s glass iconic emblem

“Beyond that, I hope that [business leaders] have a more altruistic point of view, and would create startups with a bigger purpose for the future,” he further adds.

Overall, the Glenfiddich’s WHERE NEXT CLUB is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to go beyond their limits and set the bar higher. Aside from the organized mentorship and guidance from the esteemed panel, the favored maverick entrepreneur will receive a one million peso non-equity dilutive grant.

Stay tuned and watch out for exciting announcements from Glenfiddich’s WHERE NEXT CLUB. To find your “Where Next,” follow Glenfiddich on Instagram. You may also inquire via email at [email protected].

Photography EXCEL PANLAQUE of KLIQ, Inc.

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