Mindanao’s Felicitas Pantoja wins prestigious “Nobel Prize for Business” in Oslo

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Felicitas Pantoja business for peace award
“When there’s coffee served, they sit down, they talk more and there’s less fighting – and there’s less death. So coffee can now serve as a vehicle for peace” – Joji Pantoja. Screengrab from her thanksgiving video (Coffee for Peace)

Mindanao-based entrepreneur Felicitas “Joji” Bautista Pantoja has won the prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award in Norway.

Pantoja, President and CEO of Coffee for Peace in Davao City, bagged the prestigious award also dubbed as the “Nobel Prize of Business” which is the highest distinction given to a business person. The Filipino won the award alongside the CEO of cloud computing giant Salesforce – Marc Benioff, and the CEO of an African banking group – James Mwangi.

The Business for Peace Foundation named the three honorees as outstanding leaders who made “businessworthy” accomplishments that create great value in the economy and society in an announcement on September 9, 2020.

The Filipina entrepreneur uses coffee production as a tool to build peace in the conflict zones of Mindanao where she started the peace mission around the ritual of gathering over a cup of coffee.

“When there’s coffee served, they sit down, they talk more and there’s less fighting – and there’s less death. So coffee can now serve as a vehicle for peace,” narrated Pantoja.

The only female business honoree this year has also provided sustainable livelihoods to over 880 farmers comprising of indigenous and migrant groups in rural areas through coffee production.

“I feel so happy receiving this award. It is a stamped mark of what we do and it is a great privilege to be awarded as a business that is making profit and that is promoting peace,” said the Coffee for Peace winner.

The Filipina honoree is sharing the Peace Award to all the staff, the board of directors, farmers, investors, and customers who greatly share with the promotion of what she called a “product of peace.”

Joji Pantoja teaching coffee farmers. Photo credits to Coffee for Peace.

“Thank you Business for Peace Foundation, thank you for recognizing what we do,” added the entrepreneur.

The three outstanding business leaders were selected by an independent Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics following a global nomination process.

“In a world of various complexities such as globalisation, polarisation and environmental struggles, this year’s Honourees have led by using business as a tool for change,” said Per Saxegaard, Founder of the Business for Peace Foundation.

Pantoja responded to the recognition saying, “This recognition brings hope… there are respectable people in the business world who believe in and serve as ‘cheerleaders’ for us who struggle for economic justice. This recognition affirms that inclusive development can be a reality through social enterprise.”

The 2020 winners will be celebrated at the Business for Peace Summit in May 2021.

The Outstanding Filipinos in America (TOFA) is also awarding 100 luminaries this year led by Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao.

Filipino social innovator Illac Diaz has also been recently hailed as an ASEAN Champion for his Liter of Light initiative which brings sustainable electricity to the energy-poor communities around the globe.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Filipina entrepreneur Felicitas “Joji” Pantoja for winning the prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award, touted the Nobel Prize for Business!

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Alyssa Leyda-Aldemo
Alyssa Leyda-Aldemo was a contributor in the News Letter of her former agency and is currently a content writer on her church's website and social media platform. She is now a full-time housewife who wants to re-ignite her passion for writing.