Weeks before the 4th OFW and Family Summit came, I had scoured the web hoping to get more ideas on what to expect from this one-day event. There were numerous announcements all right, but I had not found a blog that discussed the past OFW Summit’s turnout.
A day before the event, I was still unsure if this was worth it to spend eight hours of my time on. I decided to go anyway. After all, I was after the free trainings—any free trainings for that matter—and I was sure this one would have several as the event ads did say that it was meant to give OFWs tips on starting a business, including agribusiness.
As it turned out, I got a lot of surprises from this event. First, I had thought that since it was mainly organized by a foundation and not by a government agency, there would only be a respectable number of attendees rabidly hungry for guidance on how to go into business. Boy, was I wrong! The folks came in throngs. The queue as early as 7am was already about 200 meters long. I myself waited for three hours before I could get in, although I was told that had I pre-registered online a day before, my morning would not have been this, well, inconvenient. By noontime, people were still making a beeline around the World Trade Center building.
This could just be a sign of one of two things: That this is a reflection of the sheer number of families with overseas members, or that it is a good indication that we are awash with cash to spend or are simply hungry for knowledge on business.
Or better yet, all of the above.
Second, there were speaker sessions all right, but all were held in the center of the huge World Trade Center venue. The open layout meant that the stage was surrounded by booths selling food, personal care products, newspapers and real estates. The good thing with this layout is that you would not miss the talks at all. The bad thing? There are just too many people that there was a dearth of seats. And for participants at the far end of the hall, the speeches were simply drowned by the sound of people going about their business around the booths.
Third, the come-on to the event—and what a great come-on it was—was the prospect of winning a house and lot in the raffle draw. Just saying: That alone was worth the three hours wait in line.
Fourth, the speeches were at times informative, at other times motivational, and definitely upbeat —-which reminds me of the atmosphere in Sunday worship celebrations, except that this one focuses on how to earn. Personally, my biggest freebee was getting 10 minutes of mentoring from GoNegosyo angelpreneurs, which I will talk more about in my next post. Go ahead, click the link to the second part of this post below.