The future of entrepreneurship

Friday, December 12, 2014

11th Mega Balikbayan Ofw Expo and 2nd International Travel Festival
Press Conference held last Dec. 02, 2014 at The Blackboard by Chef
Michel. (From top left to bottom right) Mark Eden Ellaga-Outstanding
Filipino Blogger, Fernando Lachica- Outstanding Filipino Blogger,
Erbil Escano Sr.-Outstanding Work Ethics, Eliodoro Ranara-Outstanding
Family Builder, Orly Ballesteros, chief operating officer Exlink Events,
Alma Dagle-Ka-Entrep Micro and Small Entrepreneurs Organization
of the Philippines, Kurt Urbanozo-Metis Etrade, Louisa Adona-Palo
Alto Palawan, Rosevie Taruc-Palo Alto Palawan, Maria “Dada Mary”
Luningning Bebit-Outstanding Positive Character/Deed, Eden
David-Department of Tourism Davao, Lisette Marquez-City of Tourism
Davao and Juanito Angelito Jareño-Pag-IBIG Fund.
By Lito Cinco | Dec. 10, 2014 at 06:50pm from Manila Standard

A two-in-one exposition for balikbayans and overseas Filipino workers will take place on December 18-20 at the SMEX Convention Center.

The first event is the 11th Megabalikbayan OFW Expo (MBOX), one of the longest-running local business expo targeting balikbayans and OFWs and encouraging them to become entrepreneurs for a change while the second one is the 2nd International Travel Festival (ITF), an event that will offer travel and sales incentives from participating tour operators, hotels and resorts with the cities of Davao and Puerto Princesa included.

Davao City is promoting anew its Visit Davao Fun Sale from April 3 to May 15 next year, a partnership between the regional Tourism Department, the city government and business sector, now on its second  year already. The festival is also backed by the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas), the largest travel agency association in the country which will be holding its general meeting during the three-day ITF.

The expo will also be highlighted by the OFW and Balikbayan Reputation Award (OBRA), a recognition event now on its 6th year that searches for outstanding OFW's and balikbayans as entrepreneurs, community builders, family builders, those who show exemplary work ethics, positive character and deed, and even for bloggers who regularly write stories about OFWs.

For the record, at least as of 2012, the top countries with the biggest money remittances from both land-based and sea-based Filipino workers are Saudi Arabia with more than $1.728 billion, United Arab Emirates, $942 million,, Singapore, $865 million, Italy, $429.3 million, Hong Kong, $420.2 million, Qatar, $321.4 million, Taiwan, almost $168 million, with Bahrain, Malaysia, and Kuwait close behind.

Another  side event in the three-day expo is the 2nd OFW SME Business Summit being offered for free to OFWs and balikbayans, covering entrepreneurship, financial literacy and franchising.
According to Orly Ballesteros, chief operating officer of the organizing Ex Link, based on available data last year, there  were only around 8000 Filipino OFWs who became entrepreneurs with food and food franchising as the most popular business ventures.

"This is small compared to the around four million OFWs and what is needed is to educate and train them into setting up and running businesses using their savings. Studies also show that sea-based workers are more interested in going into business than land based workers."

Ballesteros also cited the need for SMEs to prepare for the ASEAN integration starting 2015.

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