A visionary Metro Cebu City water transportation project proposed by Nelson Mejia, Jr., a former shipping operations specialist, bagged the best business plan award during the culmination of the 2018 National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO)-Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP) Business Plan Competition.
“I really have this dream of putting up a business that has a great impact on the community. Matagal ko nang plano ang ganitong negosyo para maibsan ang traffic sa Cebu,” said Mejia, who received the grand prize of P500,000 for his ‘Metro Cebu Express’ business proposal.
The primary aim of his proposal is to provide an alternative mode of transportation via sea while creating new job opportunities for the Cebuanos, most especially the seafarers and their families.
Using water vessels, he envisions to ferry passengers from Pier 3, Cebu City to South Poblacion, San Fernando, Cebu, and vice-versa.
The other finalists were Cindy Cuico of Koronadal City who received P100,000 for her Sky’s Tuna Veggies business proposal; and Charmaine Arce Gabelo of Alabang, Muntinlupa City for her Chorizo de Alabang business proposal; Aloran Misamis Occidental Seafarers Association Inc. for their Aloran Floating Cottages with Special Packages business proposal; and Bernabe Sario of Buhi, Camarines Sur for his Artisanat Enterprises business proposal, who each received P50,000.
Meanwhile, the remaining five finalists which is composed of Rex Benson and Ana Liza Apigo of Nueva Vizcaya (Integrated Farming), Beata Tuscano of Tabaco, Albay (Bee Keeping Industry), Jenkin Malupa of Bacoor, Cavite (Jenkin’s Laundry Service), Irish Percalin of Guimaras (Gourmet Tuyo and Bagoong), and Clarisse Bautista of Dasmariñas, Cavite (Lima Coffee and Delicacies) each received consolation prize of P20,000.
Dubbed “From Seafarers to Entrepreneurs: The 2018 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition (Harnessing Seafarers Capacities for Business Enterprises Development),” the competition aims to encourage returning sea-based OFW to pursue their dream businesses and provide a sustainable livelihood for their families and communities.
The project is a joint undertaking between the NRCO, an attached agency of the labor department, and the ISP.
To support the productive reintegration of seafarers, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III encouraged them to start their own business by joining the competition next year.
Now on its fourth year, the NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition’s previous winners were William Gaspay, who owns a seaweed farm in Masinloc, Zambales; Freddie and Elsa Antiquera, who operate a soft broom business in the Bicol region; and Capt. Oswald Rollorazo and Jason Javier who owns a ruminant feed production and distribution business.