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Cebuano makes it to the 2018 business plan competition finals

Cebu City, Philippines. 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, Cebu, emerged as one of the ten (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 as “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, Dr. 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, 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,” said Dr. Mejia in a phone interview.

Specifically designed to start with the Municipality of San Fernando, Cebu and then branching out to neighboring cities and municipalities as part of its future expansion plan, the business idea of Dr. Mejia, proposes carefully thought of 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, Dr. Mejia is optimistic that it would gain attention among the members of the panel of judges.

According to NRCO-7 Regional Coordinator, Mr. 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.

During the screening round, business plans were evaluated by a technical working group according to (1) Business idea description and social impact of proposed business; (2) Market and competition; (3) Financial viability and/or profitability of the proposed business; (4) Clarity and presentation of the business plan; and (5) Drive and determination of the business plan owner.

“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 Dr. Mejia, who finished Doctor of Philosophy Major in Maritime Affairs at the Atlantic International University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

He, along with other nine (9) finalists, were given the opportunity to strengthen their business plans during the mentoring/coaching round which took place on 5 to 17 October 2018.

“I am bracing myself for the final round happening next month. All of us would be given 10 minutes to present our business plans and another 5 minutes to address all questions during the Q and A portion,” added the 27-year old business plan owner.

The grand winner, will be taking home PHP500,000.00 courtesy of the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, 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: (1) Content of the plan including social business idea and purpose; (2) Impact on the community; (3) Financial viability; (4) Clarity and presentation of the business plan; and (5) Drive and determination of the business plan owner-entrepreneur.

Other awards and prizes would include PHP100,000.00 for the First Runner-up; PHP50,000.00 each for the Second, Third, and Fourth Runners-up; PHP20,000.00 for the remaining finalists; and possible rants and access to preferential business loan funding from the NRCO and its partners.

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

“More importantly, what made us so proud of the Region’s representative this time is his ability to think of a plausible solution to the worsening traffic situation affecting not just Cebu City but also its adjacent and neighboring areas. We wish him all the best. And winner or not, he is already a winner to all of us here in Region-7,” said Atty. Cañete.

The grand winner will be announced on 9 November right after the competition’s final pitch.




For more information on this report, you may contact Luchel S. Taniza- Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at

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