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National business plan competition: Cebuano seafarer heads to nationals

Cebuano seafarer heads to nationals
October 25, 2018

ANOTHER Cebuano advanced to the final round of a national business plan competition that highlights the participation not only of seafarers within the country but also of the rest of the Filipino seafarers from all over the globe.

After successfully hurdling the screening round, Dr. Nelson M. Mejia Jr., a native of Talisay City, emerged as one of the 10 national finalists of this year’s National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP) business plan competition dubbed “From Seafarers to Entrepreneurs: The 2018 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition (Harnessing Seafarers’ Capacities for Business Enterprises Development).”

Entitled Metro Cebu Express: A Water Bus Liner Service, Mejia’s business plan hopes to engage with the maritime shipping industry under the Passenger Vessel Category that will be ferrying passengers from Pier 3, Cebu City to South Poblacion, San Fernando, Cebu and vice versa. This aims to shorten travel time while providing the best alternative and comfortable means of transportation to the riding public.

“This is how a reintegration project for seafarers like me should be like. It should be something that is related to seafaring. More importantly, it must be something that apart from being viable and feasible, should practically impact the community in a positive way,” said Mejia in a phone interview.

Specifically designed to start with San Fernando and then branching out to neighboring cities and municipalities as part of its future expansion plan, Mejia’s business idea proposes a carefully thought of routes schedule that is expected to also help decongest traffic in the metropolis, which has been a serious stressor among the commuters.

Being the only business plan centering on transportation among the 10 finalists, Mejia is optimistic that it would gain attention among the members of the panel of judges.

According to NRCO 7 coordinator Dexter F. Paro, the competition is one of the avenues for the seafarers, active or inactive, for making their dreams of starting up a business come true.

“The lives of the finalists have been changed as they were given a chance to put up a new business. This project humbly aims to foster development of new businesses in the countryside or in the hometowns of the seafarers and their families,” he said.

Mejia finished his Doctor of Philosophy Major in Maritime Affairs at the Atlantic International University in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The grand winner will be taking home P500,000 courtesy of the ISP, which is a non-stock and non-profit organization formed and established for the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families.

Winners will be chosen according to the following criteria: content of the plan including social business idea and purpose, impact on the community, financial viability, clarity and presentation of the business plan and drive and determination of the business plan owner-entrepreneur.

The grand winner will be announced on Nov. 9.