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DOLE hosts Annual Business Plan Competition for Seafarers
DOLE Seafarers -min


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) launched its 5th Business Plan Competition in partnership with the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP) last weekend.

Now on its fifth year, the annual competition aims to encourage and assist seafarers and their families on setting up their own businesses, which DOLE believes can serve as a “solution to problems in their community.” The theme for this year’s Business Plan Competition is “Harnessing Seafarer’s Capacities for Business Enterprise Development.”

“As they say, the first step is always the hardest. Crafting your business proposals seem intimidating at first, but the government is here to help,” said NRCO Officer-in-Charge Roel Martin.


The competition is open to active and inactive Filipino seafarers aged 25 years old and above. Inactive seafarers who are in the Philippines for not more than five years but interested to explore entrepreneurship are also encouraged to join.

Seafarers who wish to participate in this year’s Business Plan Competition must submit their entries from May 22 to September 6. NRCO limits the competition for startup businesses only.

Seafarers who wish to join but are currently overseas may assign at least one immediate family member as their official representative. According to NRCO, they must participate and handle all of the tasks and activities on behalf of the main participant for the competition. However, immediate family members of DOLE, OWWA, and NRCO employees are not eligible to participate.

They will shortlist 10 participants and will proceed to the mentoring round in October wherein the labor agency will coach the finalists and give them the opportunity to improve their business plans. Last year, businesses such as seaweed farming in Masinloc, Zambales and soft broom production from the Bicol Region were the winners of the 2018 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition.

During the competition’s final round on November, the finalists will present their business plans to a panel of judges. According to the mechanics, there will be a total of 20 minutes: 10 minutes for the presentation, and 10 minutes for the Question and Answer portion.

Listed below are the following prizes for the top contenders:

  • P500,000 for “The 2019 NRCO-ISP Business Plan of the Year awardee”;
  • P100,000 for the First runner-up;
  • P50,000 each for the Second, Third, and Fourth runners-up; and
  • P20,000 consolation prize for the remaining finalists.

Other than the cash prizes, the NRCO and its partners will also provide participants with grants and access to preferential business loan funding.

Seafarers who are interested to join in this year’s Business Plan Competition may submit their entries until September 06, 2019. Aspiring participants can find the entry form and business plan template at the NRCO website together with the full mechanics and the criteria for judging.

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