By Dhel Nazario
Returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can start their own technology-based enterprise with the help of a project of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“When I say technology-based it can take a wide range, it can be for example in food processing, it can be in metalworking or fabrication, it can be in electronics, it can be in furniture and other housewares, it can even be in the field of agriculture and of course they can also do services because many of our OFWs have gained certain technical and professional expertise abroad,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Pena.
During the Laging Handa press briefing on Wednesday, the secretary discussed the project. He said assistance will be in two phases. The first one is really preparing the OFWs by giving them a test for entrepreneurial competency and then training them on entrepreneurship and then helping them in identifying which enterprise they want to enter into.
The secretary said that in this particular aspect, the agency will give them access to their laboratories, to their pilot branch at DOST and also with their network organizations and companies. A pool of advisers will also help them until they come up with a good business plan.
“We have some examples already of those that we have held in the past. But now, we are putting up a program specifically for this. So for example there were those who formerly were working as seafarers and now they are into food processing, into furniture making and others have formed their own engineering design services companies,” the secretary said.
“So, these are engineers who worked abroad and when they came back, they set up their own professional services company. I have known a good example who learned the very, very good automation skills when he was still there and he put up a startup here. Now they employ more than 200 people in the engineering company,” he added.
The second phase involves financing. Dela Pena said that when they talk of financing, it’s not only for the purchase of equipment, but it will be including those that are involved in the product development phase, in the laboratory testing place, in getting whatever technology licenses are needed to be taken in.
“So, initially we are testing it at the NCR region, at the National Capital Region. But we will soon move out to the provinces. So, this is both a support for our OFWs and also some kind of a support to our Balik Probinsya, because many OFWs are going home to their respective home provinces,” he said.