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Aidea CEO is Ernst & Young Innovation Entrepreneur of 2007
10 February 2008

Abelardo Tolentino Jr., President and CEO of architecture and design firm Aidea Philippines Inc., was conferred the Innovation Entrepreneur award at the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2007 awards.

Tolentino was recognized for applying innovative approaches, business solutions, and technologies that resulted in improved business processes and company growth. He was also cited for his breakthrough and ingenious projects at Aidea, which have created opportunities for Filipino architects and interior designers to produce world-class work locally.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas in 1987, he spent nine years in Hong Kong working in prestigious architectural firms such as HOK Asia Pacific and John Lei Architects Ltd. Here he observed and learned how things were done to produce world-class designs.

In 1998, he came back to the Philippines and took the position of Managing Director of the local office of Robert Matthew Johnson Marshall (RMJM), a UK-based architectural firm. In 2003, when RMJM announced that it did not have long-term plans in the Philippines, Tolentino decided to acquire the firm. This marked the start of his career as an entrepreneur, and in 2006, he renamed the company Aidea Philippines Inc.

According to Tolentino, "Filipino architects and designers are brilliant artists, at par with the best creative minds in Asia, the UK, and the US." He believes that Aidea has been able to create an opportunity for Filipino architects and interior designers to produce high-quality world-class work locally—without having to go abroad—and be compensated equitably for their services. This is one of the ways he is giving back to his country, by reversing the brain drain, retaining the genius of the Filipino for the Filipino. He encourages architecture and design students to visit Aidea and let them see first-hand what is required to compete in the global arena.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards aims to identify, acknowledge and encourage those entrepreneurs who, through their energy, passion and vision, help bolster economies, build a hopeful future and employment for countless people. This program has spread around the world to 50 countries since it was first presented in 1986.