From College Dropout to Self-Made Billionaire: The Mang Inasal Success Story

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Perhaps most of us have already dined in at Mang Inasal, the famous, mouth-watering chicken barbecue fastfood chain made even more popular by the unli-rice serving.

But did you know that its founder, Ilonggo and Filipino-Chinese Edgar ‘Injap’ Sia Jr. is a college dropout whose novel idea of starting a barbecue restaurant turned him into the country’s youngest billionaire?

Injap was born in Iloilo and took up Architecture at the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City. He would later drop out of college to start his own business at age 19.

He first ventured into a laundry and a photo developing business before he was struck with the idea of starting a chicken barbecue resto which he thought at that time would be the first-ever in the country.

Apparently, he was right and ‘Mang Inasal’ was born with its first branch located at a parking lot of a mall in Iloilo City.


At first, he had a hard time convincing his father about using the name ‘Mang Inasal’ because of feng shui, but the latter eventually gave in.

The early years for Injap and the ‘Mang Inasal’ was not smooth-sailing. Being new in the business and because of lack of track record, some suppliers turned down Injap so he looked for suppliers in wet markets and in local cooperatives in Iloilo.

From that one small branch in 2003, Mang Inasal grew to more than a hundred branches all over the country in just six years.

Already a flourishing fast food chain, Mang Inasal caught the eye of Jolibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong. Caktiong bought 70 percent of Mang Inasal’s stake in 2010 for a whooping P3-B.

The deal made Injap the youngest billionaire in the country at 30-something. His wealth further grew when Jolibee bought the remaining 30 percent for P2-B more; effectively taking ownership and control of Mang Inasal.

But the partnership between Injap and Tony Tan Caktiong didn’t end there. The young billionaire already looks up to the Jolibee magnate as his mentor so the two teamed up to form DoubleDragon Properties Corporation; a real state development corporation behind the City Malls found in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Apart from this, Injap also invested his money in the banking industry (Philippine Bank of Communication), health maintenance services (Maxi Care) and in the hotel business.

For Injap, there is no such thing as luck. And even if there is, he believes men made their own luck.

“I think success is a series of correct decisions. Every decision that’s made today was made because you thought it was right today; and, as a leader and a business founder, that’s your job—to keep making decisions all day,” he said.

In 2011, Injap became the youngest billionaire in the country at age 34. A decade later, he was still in Forbes’ list of richest Filipinos with estimated wealth of $700-M (around P33.7-B) in 2020.

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