Cebuano among 10 finalists in biz plan contest
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - October 24, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Another Cebuano has advanced to the final round in a national business plan competition that highlights the participation of seafarers in the country and abroad.


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

Mejia’s business plan with the title Metro Cebu Express: A Water Bus Liner Service, 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, Municipality of San Fernando, Cebu and vice-versa targeting 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 myself 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,” the 27-year-old Mejia said in a press statement released by DOLE-7.

 Speci?cally designed to start in San Fernando and then branching out to neighboring cities and municipalities as part of its future expansion plan, the business idea of Mejia proposes routes schedule that is expected to also help decongest traffic at 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 Regional Coordinator Dexter F. Paro the competition is one of the avenues for the seafarers, active or inactive, into 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.

 “I have so much faith in this business idea. In fact, I have also closely coordinated with the local government units of San Fernando and the City of Talisay and I was very happy of their support. Apart from this, I have also fortunately come across with individuals who have willingly pledged to invest in this business,” said Mejia, who finished Doctor of Philosophy Major in Maritime Affairs in the Atlantic International University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

  He and the other nine finalists were given the opportunity to strengthen their business plans during the mentoring/coaching round which took place last October 5 to 17, 2018.

  The grand winner, will be taking home P500,000 courtesy of 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.

Other awards and prizes would include P100,000 for the first runner-up; P50,000 each for the second, third and fourth runners-up and P20,000 for the remaining finalists; and possible grants and access to preferential business loan funding from the NRCO and its partners.

DOLE-7 Regional Director Atty. Johnson G. Cañete congratulated Mejia for being able to advance to the final round in the competition thereby giving Central Visayas a big chance to go for the win.

Winners will be announced on November 9 right after the competition’s final pitch. — MBG (FREEMAN)

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