Partners in Life and in Business

Although they both went to De La Salle University, their paths never really crossed until several years later when they joined the Single Young Adults retreat at San Antonio Parish Church in Makati. From there, you can say that their relationship was a Godsend.

Married for fourteen years (and counting), RJ and Vanessa’s union produced three beautiful children, multiple business ventures, and several awards.

RJ and Vanessa co-founded Mercato Centrale, the country’s largest outdoor food market and an incubator that helps micro and small, medium enterprises (MSME) start and scale up their businesses. Their hard work for the company resulted in three major awards for the company – the 2019 Asia Leaders Awards SME of the Year, the 2019 Asia CEO Awards SME of the Year, and the 2019 ASEAN Business Awards Philippine Winner for Business Model Innovation. Aside from Mercato, they also co-founded EnterPh, a consultancy firm that assists foreign businesses offshore, outsourcing or expanding their businesses to the Philippines.

On their own, both RJ and Vanessa pursued their own businesses, passions, and advocacies. RJ, who also serves as the Honorary Consul of Monaco to the Philippines, co-founded Easy Franchise, a one-stop-shop franchising consultancy firm that helps ease the process of investing, managing, or developing a franchise business. RJ is a professional host and motivational speaker who is a Hall of Fame Awardee for Best Male host at the Aliw Awards. He hosts Bright Ideas for One News – a show that focuses on successful tech start-up companies, and his self-titled podcast The RJ Ledesma Podcast where he interviews up and coming and self-made entrepreneurs.

Vanessa, who also serves as the Honorary Consul of Montenegro to the Philippines, earned a Master’s in Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo Center for Entrepreneurship. She is currently the Manila Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, an UN-based organization. For her efforts both in entrepreneurship and her consulate, she was recently recognized by the International Council for Small Businesses-Philippines.

In the midst of the pandemic, RJ and Vanessa took the opportunity to become more fit and healthy. With the help of online fitness and motivational coach, RJ and Vanessa have developed a daily workout program and they say that they are at the fittest point of their adult lives.

Just like their multi-tasking parents, Fortune (13 yo) and Rene III (10 yo) balance their schoolwork with gymnastics and taekwondo (for which they have competed and won in international competitions). At the same time, their youngest Lorenzo (5 yo) appears to be a budding artist judging by the number of drawings that have filled up their living room.


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