The Department of Science and Technology-Caraga (DOST-Caraga), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Caraga (OWWA), and the Department of Trade and Industry-Caraga (DTI) joined forces to assist returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)who wish to establish their own businesses in their provinces. There are already 32 OFWs who will undergo training under Phase 1 of DOST’s Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines or iFWD PH program.
Because of the pandemic that prompted many OFWs to come back to the Philippines, the DOST saw the need to assist them especially those who expressed their interest to settle down permanently in the country and start their own technology-based enterprises.
The Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines or iFWD PH program is a nationwide initiative of the DOST that aims to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for repatriated OFWs and their families. Under the program, the OFWs who decided to stay permanently in the Philippines will be assisted so that they can establish their own technology-based enterprises. The program has two phases: 1) Capacity Building, to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge in running a technology-based business and 2) Innovation Funding for the establishment of an enterprise by providing a portion of the seed capital.
The thirty-two OFWs from Caraga region, who came home to the country within the past three years, already passed the pre-qualification requirements and are set to start with Phase 1 of the program that involves virtual training on business concept and plan development from May to July this year.
The priority technology-based business sectors that OFWs can engage in include the following: food processing, furniture making, gifts, housewares and decors, agriculture and aquaculture, metals and engineering, and health and pharmaceuticals.
DOST-Caraga OIC Engr. Noel M. Ajoc, OWWA-Caraga OIC Ma. Ireen C. Cambaling, and DTI-Caraga Assistant Regional Director Gay A. Tidalgo led the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) committing the agencies’ efforts to the program to provide the best possible assistance to the OFWs.
DOST Sec. Fortunato T. de la Peña, during his keynote message,cited OFWs-turned-technopreneur stories from different regions as examples of benefits of using science, technology, and innovation in business and he hoped to witness more success in Caraga under the program. (By Aliana Gene E. Sarmiento, DOST-Caraga)
Sec. Fortunato T. de la Peña as the Keynote Speaker.
iFWD PH Caraga Phase 1 OFW-beneficiaries shared their work overseas stories and their hopes for the success of the program.