George Nocom Pua receives Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Last Update: Jun 11, 2022 @ 1:58 pm
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George Nocom Pua (GNP), MeatConcepts President, and CEO of Rico’s Lechon is awarded the Regus Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019 CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE in the 10th Asia CEO Awards held at the Andaz Vienna Am Belvedere Hotel on October 19, 2019 in Vienna, Austria.

Established in 2002, the Asia CEO Awards gathers the senior leadership of different countries to recognize the accomplishments of individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to the development of their respective industry and economy worldwide.

GNP And The Regus Entrepreneur Award


Little did the well-respected restaurateur George Nocom Pua  knew back then that his love affair with lechon that started when he was only 13 years old, would help earn him his first international recognition as an entrepreneur.

Clad in a gray suit by Filipino designer M Barretto and Gucci shoes, George Pua beamed with pride as he went onstage to receive the prestigious Regus Entrepreneur Award.

The Regus Entrepreneur Award is one of the categories that are open to organizations that achieved significant business growth and demonstrated effective management and expansion across the ASEAN region.

“These awards fire up our passion even more to create unforgettable dining experiences to our clients, not only at Rico’s Lechon, but also in my other restaurants,” George said during his acceptance speech.

In addition, the Regus Award requires the nominated company or individual to have received recognition by an international organization that identifies the business’s ability to harness opportunities for its expansion. 

George Nocom Pua fulfilled this criterium when he was announced to receive the Stevie® Award Entrepreneur of the Year for Food & Beverage – Medium Size category which recognized GNP’s efforts in introducing a myriad of innovative restaurant designs and services for 2019.

“The Regus will fuel my efforts to inspires me to create more restaurant concepts worthy of the Stevie Awards,” said George.

His achievements has been promoted hoping to inspire local businesses to expand, introduce, and integrate their products for the best dining and service experience for their customers.  

But overall, this recognition is one of the testaments to GNP’s dedication and passion for helping the economy of the Philippines one store at a time.

Acquiring Rico’s Lechon

Ricos Lechon Mandaue Branch
Rico’s Lechon’s biggest restaurant at Unit F1 Jamestown, Mantawi International Drive, Mandaue City opened on June 28, 2019.

George Pua still remembers how he felt like he was over the moon when he acquired the full ownernship the Rico’s Lechon brand in 2017.

He happily mentioned how he could have his fill of Cebu’s best lechon at any time of the day without having to fly over to the Queen City of the South.

George reminisced how he once went on a five-day lechon trip just to try all the popular lechon brand in Cebu and for him, nothing stood out better than Rico’s Lechon.

Under GNP’s guidance, Rico’s Lechon continues to provides the juiciest and crispiest lechon. Along with the opening of the brand’s flagship restaurant in Mandaue, he can also offer the best dining experience to its customers through its “Da Best Gyud” culture.

More than providing the best service, Rico’s Lechon is set to introduce a culture of transforming each occasion for their customers into a memorable one.

And with the innovative approach and appeal brought by the “Da Best Gyud” culture, the public was able to generate an increase in brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Super Employer

With the corporations that he is managing, he is the CEO and boss of more than 1,400 employees and still counting. 

Rico’s Lechon AXIS Escario Branch Team.

READ ALSO: Rico’s Lechon wins 3 International Awards

GNP also acquired and expanded the reach of RICO’s LECHON brand. Along with Rico’s Lechon, his manpower reaches up to 400 employees from 50 employees and this was in the span of 8 months. 

It’s with GNP’s leadership and management that it was able to reach this height. It doesn’t stop there it is still expected to grow with the scheduled opening of new stores before the end of 2019.

Rico’s Lechon Innovative Designs

Rico’s Lechon inside look on AXIS branch.

GNP’s new management surfaced a carefully designed structure adjacent to the dining area with patented mechanical design. Rico’s Lechon restaurant is able to prepare freshly cooked Lechon on-site because Lechon is always best served when it’s hot, fresh and crispy.

GNP established a Roasting Pit in San Juan City which can roast at least 750 Lechon every 4-hours and fulfills the requirements of online whole-lechon orders.

Rico’s Lechon San Juan Roasting Pit.

With his achievements in a short span of time, George Nocum Pua becomes foremost a respected trader and entrepreneur in the Philippines. His acronym GNP of the popular “GNP Trading and Export, Inc.” is synonymous with Excellence, Passion, Quality, and Integrity.

Rico’s Lechon has already opened the following restaurant locations:

  • Mandaue City, Philippines (June 2019)
  • Axis, Cebu City, Philippines (July 2019)
  • SM North Edsa, Quezon City (September 2019)

For these record-breaking acheivements, Rico’s Lechon was awarded the “Company of the Year” (Gold) and with it’s “Daghnag Salamat, Cebuanos” campaign, got them the “PR Campaign of the Year” (Bronze) award.

“The successful campaign heralds the wide acceptance of the well-loved Cebu lechon brand in Manila,” said Ruben Licera, CEO of Estrat Digital Marketing, Rico’s Lechon’s digital marketing agency.

The Journey On Getting The Stevie Awards

ESTRAT’s CEO, Ruben Licera (left), Mr. George Nocom Pua (middle), and ESTRAT’s CXO Iren Licera (right).

It was Mr. Ruben who broached the idea to George to submit their application for the Stevie Awards.

As Ruben recounts their journey to vie for the Stevie Awards. Mr. George was actually indifferent at first, especially since GNP wasn’t a fan of joining competitions. So the first time Ruben presented the idea to Pua, GNP acted like he didn’t hear anything.

However, Mr. Licera didn’t stop trying to persuade Mr. Pua and sent the serial restaurateur another email highlighting Rico’s Lechon’s achievements under his leadership.

And after thirty minutes, Sir George called and said that he didn’t realize how far they’ve gotten in just 8 months. But what truly persuaded him to agree was the thought that if he joins the Stevie Awards, it would also inspire other entrepreneurs to do the same and that’s all that mattered to him.

From there, Mr. Ruben started working on the requirements for joining the Stevie Awards. This included a 1,000 word essay containing at least 10 accomplishments for the year and attached with it, tons of supporting documents.

“The good thing about working closely with sir George’s team is we have access to all the files and we have documented and archived them through the years,” said Ruben.

ESTRAT Digital Marketing went all out and worked 24/7 for two weeks just to learn more about Pua’s background and other businesses. They even flew from Cebu and stayed in Manila for five days to make it happen.

After submitting the requirements, all that was left was to wait until August 12, 2019 for the results.

Mr. Ruben still remembered how he stayed up all night just to wait for the email results. But they didn’t get one. He checked his email again the following day but still had nothing.

He even gathered his team and informed them that they didn’t receive an email and thought that they really didn’t win. However, at 9:04 p.m. Ruben was beyond ecstatic to have received an email stating the good news.

It was ESTRAT’s Chief eXperience Officer (CXO), Iren Licera who informed Sir George on the results and she recounted how he was dumfounded to have learned that they not only won one award but three!

“I couldn’t believe that we made it,” added George. “Never in my wildest dreams that my passion and love for creating good food for people to enjoy would be recognized in the international stage. The IBA Stevie is, indeed, a great honor for myself, my team and for the country.”

GNP as a Serial Restaurateur

GNP loves food especially authentic Asian flavors, this inspired him to start his chain of Asian style restaurants under No Limits Food Corporation (NLFC) and successfully launched five (5) of highly recognized restaurant brands in the Philippines.

GNP opened five company-owned and fully-furnished restaurants in key cities in the Philippines’ capital in less than a year with each of these stores having an average of 200 square meter area and has a workforce of 60 people per store.

These stores are as mentioned below.

Oppa Chicken
OPPA! Chicken

KPub, which is a multi-awarded Korean culture lifestyle restaurant brand received multiple awards from Zomato and TripAdvisor. It currently provides major entertainment at the heart of the Philippines’ financial district. 

Thai BBQ provides original Thai food experience and the OPPA Chicken was inspired by Koreans knack of tasty and flavorful chicken.

MODERN CHINA is GNPs tribute to his roots and his love for his mother’s of home-cooked comfort foods. OGAWA Restaurant, an authentic Japanese restaurant to savor the true flavors of Japan.

OGAWA Restaurant

What Keeps GNP Going?

Rico's Regus
George Nocom Pua tosses Feng Shui coins wishing for good luck and fortune.

GNP’s first love was food and beverages. He has invested most of his time in this industry because he is passionate about what he does, what he serves, eats and offers. GNP always thinks about how he can pay back and share his blessings to his family and “extended family” who are his employees.

Celebrating the Regus Award

GNP’s Regus Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019 highlights his passion, achievements, and successes not only in Cebu but also in Manila. This award is a testament to how Mr. Pua values and cares for the Filipinos and the Philippines’ economy.

With the Asia CEO Awards as the largest business awards event in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, this recognition is extraordinary and gives pride to us Filipinos. To Mr. George Nocom Pua for demonstrating outstanding leadership, management, and contributions, we are very proud of you!

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