“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” –Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
As a business leader, Manny Pascual has the knack for defying conventions and being the first in taking paths that are less traveled. The 46-year-old network marketing expert has pioneered in offering a one-stop-shop super app and in bundling franchising into his Unified Products and Services app.
His is an entrepreneurial journey that has been driven by his love and commitment to his family. Pascual has the innate passion to innovate and create opportunities that are ahead of the times. His brainchild, the Unified super app is testament to that. More interestingly, his network marketing profile has an inspiring story to tell.
Just like most successful businessmen in the country, Pascual had humble beginnings. He was born not with a silver spoon in his mouth but with glimmering support and guidance from his hardworking parents. He was one of eight kids in a typically big Filipino family that had struggled to make ends meet.
From his parents’ determination, Pascual was able to earn his BS Accountancy degree from the Philippine School of Business Administration. After college, he signed up for a typical 8-to-5 job, wherein he thrived to impress his bosses with the aspiration to climb up from the ranks and obtain better pay rates every 15th and 30th of the month.
Getting into network marketing
The young and idealistic employee got into his own crossroads when his dad died and he was forced to seek higher income to help support his family. It was then that he started taking side-hustles, which eventually led him to consider a career change. Fate brought him to sales and soon after into network marketing.
That passage changed his perspective in his career. “It was not easy because sales and network marketing was not my forte. I had to learn, go through numerous failures and successes. But I found network marketing to be rewarding. I was starting to attain fulfillment,” Pascual recalls.
But just like any passionate individual, his determination was tested. Pascual soon got bored when the prospects of the job turned lackluster. His fulfillment dwindled then when most of the people under his supervision were not reciprocating his passion. By that time, he had already invested into other ventures for passive and lucrative income—he had built apartments for rent and had gotten into other businesses like water delivery (in tanks) to households.
The businesses were financially rewarding. However, after some time, Pascual felt less fulfilled. He knew he had to get back to what he thought he was doing best—network marketing.
Pascual immediately decided to hand over his ventures to a sibling and moved on to bounce back into network marketing. Re-starting from scratch, he began his own network marketing business in 2006 through putting up a prepaid loading business, which gradually expanded into bills payment, money remittance, and ticketing (for travels).
“Network marketing has grown tremendously inside me that even if I had to start from scratch, I went on to begin a new and more challenging journey,” Pascual says. Unified Products and Services, while being a continuous work in progress, eventually took the franchising route. The business expanded reach as franchisees put up stores to offer its services to different parts of the country.
While Pascual was busy expanding the services and products offered by his business, another turning point got in when the advent of mobile apps dawned in 2013. From the brick-and-mortar stores, Pascual brought his business to a new and emerging platform—online through a mobile app.
Fintech super app pioneer
That made him a pioneer of local fintech. The one-stop-shop concept of Unified crossed over and evolved into a super app. His Unified app was the first of its kind—long before GCash and Maya (formerly PayMaya) initiated to expand their app features.
“It was clear to me that I was born a leader and so I have made sure my venture would be a pioneer and a leader in the industry. Unified went to domains and territories where even the giants like GCash and Maya dared not go by that time. It is somehow flattering that they followed me in this direction,” Pascual says.
The next 10 years were full of challenges. Nevertheless, Pascual has stood his ground to continue leading Unified to become a Filipino success story. “Unified is a tech-driven company that has endured the ups and downs through the years. We had our own share of trials and errors to make sure the super app remains easy to use, safe, and capable of bringing wonders to the evolving local consumers.”
Taking franchising into the app
Determined to make a difference and help fellow Filipinos, Pascual has turned his Unified super app into a business platform for other entrepreneurs. The app offers products at wholesale prices to the benefit of the struggling consumers. At the same time, it facilitates franchising to serve enterprising Filipinos who need a steady income source.
By signing up for a premium account, a Unified super app user can refer as many friends or relatives to become app users and open the door to a perpetual income flow. Premium members get a sharelink that can be used for referring other users. Residual income is generated each time a ‘downline’ member makes any transaction in the super app. The principle of network marketing applies and the continuity of income generation is ensured.
“Through this business model, I am somehow helping other people live better lives. My goal is to help more of our fellowmen earn better income so they can provide for the needs of their own families. We all agree that we work hard for our loved ones. What we offer is an opportunity for everyone to obtain the same fulfillment as I have,” Pascual asserts.
Pascual is confident that Unified Products and Services will live its purpose to continue helping in nation-building and improving lives. He is starting to look into offshore expansion, initially targeting areas in the Southeast Asian region and into more countries.
He intends to spend several more years at the helm. Pascual aims to take an early retirement by the time he gets 55 so he can enjoy more time with his wife and two kids—now 21 and 16.
“Money is not everything for me. Just like my parents, I always remind my children to carry on with what they want and love to do. But they have to make sure every endeavor is legal, moral, and ethical. I am looking forward to spending more joyrides with my wife soon. And I wish more Filipino families can also win in life and enjoy better lives,” he concludes.