Johnlu G. Koa
Johnlu G. Koa is the founder and chief executive officer of The French Baker Inc.,a chain of bakeshops that offers world-class French pastries and delicacies.
Johnlu grew up in Binondo. His parents, Raymundo Koa Sun Len and Cristina Go Chu, reared him as well as his brothers at an early age as businessmen. They would buy toys that Johnlu would sell to his classmates at Xavier School and to friends at the neighborhood.
He finished his elementary education from Xavier School and obtained his degrees in Business Administration in 1979 and MBA in 1984, both from University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Johnlu taught business administration at the University of the Philippines, Diliman from 1980 to 1995, while managing a small bakery on the side. However, he expanded his bakery and went full-time.
As An Entrepreneur
Raised up in a business environment, he sold dried mangoes (manufactured by his cousins in Cebu) to department stores, Mercury drugstores, and to others, even while still studying in college. He also helped his mother with her four-branch restaurant.
Johnlu has a passion for baking that when he went to Europe and was fascinated with its baguettes, he tried to replicate them here in the Philippines. He learned the technical and operational side of baking French bread and opened The French Baker in 1989. His classmate in Xavier School who is Henry Sy's son told him about SM City Annex opening up. He borrowed capital from his parents (which he was able to return in just a year) and offered a concept that fits SM's line-up of food stores.
French Baker has already 32 branches nationwide, and has a conservative average of annual two-store growth in 16 years.
Now, Johnlu Koa is an active promoter of entrepreneurship in the country being resource speaker and advisor to public and private seminars about entrepreneural development. He also serves in the Board of Trustees of the U.P. Business Research Foundation.
Among the most notable awards Johnlu has received for being an excellent entrepreneur are:
- Ten Outstanding Young Filipinos for Entrepreneurship (1996);
- UP Alumni Association´s Professional Award in the Field of Entrepreneurship (1996);
- UP´s Most Distinguished Alumnus Award (2002).
- In 1994, The French baker received the AGORA Award for "Marketing Company of the Year".
- ""Lance Gokongwei bags Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines award." (accessed on December 7, 2007).
- "The Good Entrepreneur." (accessed on December 8, 2007).
- "The 2nd Young Market Masters Judges." (accessed on December 8, 2007).
- De Sequera, Vanni. Baking a Fortune, Johnlu Koa. NEGOSYO. Quezon City: ABS-CBN Publishing, 2006.