OFW expo set to mobilize funds from Pinoys abroad

Monday, August 19, 2013

An event for the more than 10 million overseas Filipinos worldwide (OFWs) and their relatives in the Philippines is being organized to help turn them into entrepreneurs by channeling some of their over $21-billion remittances from mere consumption to investments.

          The event, dubbed Mega Balikbayan/OFW Expo 2013, is in the thick of preparations to put under one roof all the requirements that the OFWs and their relatives need to become successful entrepreneurs.

          Expo organizer Exlink Events said close to 500 exhibitors were being targeted to ensure that the multitude of OFWs, balikbayans and their relatives would have a complete menu of businesses, knowledge sources, support services and all the enabling mechanisms to achieve that goal.

          “That means gathering all the possible sources of business opportunities, investment options, service providers, knowledge and training outfits, banks and other financial institutions, and all other private and public support agencies, including the DOLE (Department Of Labor and Employment), POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs), DTI (Department of Trade & Industry), Board of Investments (BOI), DOF (Department of Finance), and many others, all catering to the entrepreneurial needs of the millions of OFWs and their families,” said Exlink chief executive officer Mitch Ballesteros.

          “This expo is designed to make our OFWs and balikbayans feel like being the real heroes that they are, who can help transform our economy from being merely consumption driven to strongly investment led.  Obviously, they have both the numbers and the collective resources to make it happen,” Ballesteros stressed.

          The OFWs, according to POEA data, number to roughly 9.5 million to 12.5 million, or around 10 to 11 percent of the country’s total population.  This figure does not include the total number of their relatives that the expo is also catered to.

          Moreover, some 1.7 million OFWs were reportedly awaiting deployment for the first 10 months of last year, which the POEA said would reflect an 8.6-percent growth year on year.

          For full-year 2012, the OFWs reportedly remitted more than $21 billion, equivalent to nine percent of the country’s $224.75-billion gross domestic product in 2011, and 8.5 percent in 2012.

          Still, the OFW remittances continue to grow, always exceeding the government’s target in the past several years.

          “Thus, we are dealing with a truly powerful sector (OFWs) who deserve the best treatment we can offer through the Mega Balikbayan/OFW Expo,” Ballesteros said.

          Now on its 10th year, the expo includes the OFW Business Summit and the Outstanding Balikbayan Reputation Awards (OBRA).

Constituting the expo are three components – 1) MEGA INVEST presenting investment opportunities in various fields such as real estate and property, manufacturing, support  technologies, agri-aqua business, retail and wholesale distributorships, service outlets, and many others;  2) MEGA EXPERIENCE offering various holiday destinations, health and wellness products and services, food and beverages, and pets and hobbies; and 3) MEGA SHOP for discounted items, online sellers, souvenir items and regional products.

The Mega Balikbayan/OFW Expo is slated at the SMX Convention Center on December 11 to 12.  More information about the event can be obtained from Exlink Events (tel: 632 6433887; mobile: 0920 9242532, 0920 9814376; email: info@exlinkevents.com; or visit www.exlinkevents.com).

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