Contest offers P500,000 to seafarer with best business plan
To encourage Filipino seafarers to become entrepreneurs, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), together with the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP), on Wednesday launched a contest with start-up capital as the grand prize.
For the contest, seafarers or their families have to submit business plans or new business ideas — preferably related to agriculture — from which judges will choose the best one to win the P500,000 start-up capital.
The contest, dubbed as the 2016 National Registration Center for OFWs (NRCO) - ISP Business Plan Competition, aims to help seafarers set up their own income-generating ventures after they retire, said ISP president Capt. Gaudencio Morales.
"Inaanyayahan namin ang lahat ng seafarers, pati na ang pamilya ng seafarers, lalo na yung mga misis, na mag-join kayo... para magkaroon kayo, kahit hindi kayo manalo ng grand prize na P500,000, magkakaroon kayo ng kaalaman sa negosyo," Morales said at a press briefing in Manila on Wednesday.
Active seafarers planning to retire or start their own business and inactive seafarers who have been in the Philippines for not more than five years may join the second iteration of the competition.
Seafarers 25 years old and above may enter solo, in pairs, in groups, or have at least one official representative handle the required tasks and activities for the competition.
Entries will be narrowed down to 10 finalists, who will undergo screening and mentoring activities until the awarding ceremony on November 11.
Business plans will be judged according to the content of the plan, its impact on the seafarer's community, and its financial viability.
The winning seafarer or group of seafarers this year will receive P500,000 in three trenches and the assistance of local government units in business registration and other services.
Other prizes, such as access to preferential business loan funding from NRCO and its partners, will be granted to participants.
Leyzam Gaspay, the son of the 2015 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition winner William Gaspay, said his father knew starting a business was important to keep his family financially afloat.
"Bilang isang seaman, alam niya na hindi habang-buhay yung trabaho na 'yun... Nag-take siya ng chance na makisali," Gaspay said.
Setting the business up in Masinloc, Zambales, allowed William to break the cycle of being a "one-day millionaire" and extend his savings well beyond the first years of his retirement.
"Kahit anong laki ng pera na meron ka, kung hindi mo alam kung papano mo ima-manage yung pera at wala siyang pupuntahan, mauubos at mauubos 'yan," his son said.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz urged seafarers to join the competition and to create plans even on their first year on a ship as they could not work forever.
"[Sa] unang pagsakay, alam niyo na walang forever bilang isang seafarer. Kaya day one pa lang, nagiisip na po kayo ng ganitong mga pagpaplano ng inyong buhay on a long-term basis after po kayo makatapos sa iyong buhay marino," Baldoz said.
Entry forms, seafarer's ID, and business plan samples may be acquired and submitted to the NRCO website until August 19. —KBK, GMA News