Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis Baldoz yesterday expressed optimism that the special project, NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition, will be successful with the entries now reaching 40.

 

“The top 10 finalists to be selected from the 40 hopefuls will undergo coaching for the packaging of the business proposals. They will stand to benefit from the rich mentoring of experts in the field of entrepreneurship,” said Baldoz.

 

“What we have now is a small, but critical number of promising entrepreneurs who will serve as models of gainful reintegration after working overseas.  This is, indeed, a novel way of engaging our returning seafarers and their families to convert their ideas into a business plan, not only to win cash prizes, but spark in them their social entrepreneurial talents,” said Baldoz.

 

The NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition is a special project of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP) to encourage and empower OFW-seafarers to plan for a sound investment.

 

The Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, a non-stock and non-profit organization formed and established for the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families, is sponsoring the cash prize of P500,000.00 for the Best Business Plan competition. It will provide the cash prize in three tranches, or within six months, to support the implementation of the business plan.

 

A committee formed for the competition screened and evaluated the entries. NRCO Director Chona M. Mantilla said the top 10 finalists will be given a month-long mentoring or coaching this November 2015 to enhance and strengthen their business plans, and at the same time, provide them opportunity to develop their market pitches for the final round of the competition.

 

When the special project was launched, Director Mantilla underscored the NRCO’s support to the OFW-seafarers joining the competition by giving them money management and investment guidance. “These skills are needed for them to eventually become social entrepreneurs that support the growth of jobs in their hometowns,” she said.

 

The competing business proposals are cross-cutting ventures on agri-business and related enterprises, including services, which were proposed by returning seafarers or their immediate family members.

 

The business proposals from OFW-seafarers in various regions in the country consist of strawberry, rice/mongo, and dragon fruit farming; training and establishment of integrated farm and household waste management and production of organic fertilizer; rice mill business; import and export of seaweeds; goat-crops production; vegetable agri-trading; pig, chicken, duck, and quail farming; and organic livestock and crops/vegetables production.

 

Apart from traditional industry-based plans, there are also innovations or emerging business ventures submitted by the contestants, such as green food aquaphonics, vertical urban farming, and wood vinegar production.  Several other trading, services, and manufacturing and production ventures were submitted in the competition.

 

The final round, which is the Business Plan Oral Presentation/Final Pitch, will enable the finalists to present their entries to a set of judges to be selected by NRCO and ISP. Each will be given a maximum of 15 minutes for the presentation. After the presentations, the judges will discuss the merits of each plan and pick the eventual winner on 27 November 2015.

 

The month-long screening and evaluation of the entries started on 9 October. The Screening and Evaluation Committee, comprised of representatives from Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, Inc., Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Labor Communications Office, and National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers, deliberated on 30 October the top 10 finalists who will advance in the coaching round this November.

 

“Since engaging into entrepreneurial venture is a viable reintegration process for our returning OFWs, we need to pick business proponents who have the drive to harness their capacities for enterprises development, and whose business idea has a social impact. Lastly, we take into consideration the financial profitability of the proposed business that will generate and support jobs creation,” Baldoz said.

 

The awarding ceremony will be held in December 2015, in a venue that will be announced later by the NRCO through their website, http://nrco.dole.gov.ph/ and the ISP Facebook page, www.facebook.com/isphilippines, and website at www.isp.org.ph.

 

END/GSR

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