Business plan competition for seafarers launched in Bacolod

THE National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers (NRCO), in partnership with the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP), unveiled its business plan competition for local seafarers in Bacolod City on Tuesday, July 11.

Melvin Caseda, chief of policy and program development division of NRCO, led the launching activity at SM City Bacolod attended by about 125 seafarer-trainees in the city.

He said a P1.4-million fund was allocated for the annual competition now on its third year.

Dubbed “From Seafarers to Entrepreneurs: 2017 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition (Harnessing Seafarers’ Capacities for Business Enterprise Development),” the initiative aims to encourage and capacitate seafarers, especially those retiring, in venturing towards entrepreneurship as business and livelihood.

“We are here in Bacolod City because for one, there are many seafarers here,” Caseda said, adding that aside from benefiting seafarers and their families, “it is also the goal of the project to generate more jobs in their respective communities.”

The business plan competition started in 2015 and has already produced two successful grand winners.

This year, it was already launched in Manila, Palawan, and General Santos City. After Bacolod City, the competition will also be launched in Rosales, Pangasinan and Iloilo City this month.

It is open to active seafarers preferably those who are planning to retire, and inactive seafarers who have been in the country for not more than five years.

Interested seafarers must be at least 25 years old and may join in solo, pair, or group of three members, whose business plans are for startup business of any industry except franchising.

The grand winner will receive P500,000 in cash prize to be given in three tranches. The top two winner will get P100,000; top three to five, P50,000; and top six to 10, P20,000.

“Aside from cash prizes, there will also be mentoring and coaching sessions particularly on handling business to ensure the sustainability of their chosen enterprise,” Caseda said, adding that they will also tap other agencies and organizations for other assistance needed by the recipients.

Captain Gaudencio Morales, president of ISP, said there is a pressing need to change the mindset of local seafarers.

He said most Filipino seafarers have problems in terms of financial management and that they need right education to prepare for their retirement.

“Through this program, we hope to educate and change the mindset of our seafarers,” Morales said, adding that “seafaring is not forever, it’s something that they should realize.”

The deadline for submission of entries is on September 8 through NRCO Office in Manila, its regional field offices, or email address: nrcoispbusinessplan@gmail.com. Downloadable forms can be accessed through www.nrco.dole.gov.ph.
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