The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) started training the first batch of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Mimaropa (Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) region to set up their own technology-based enterprises.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said DOST-Mimaropa welcomed the first batch of OFWs from the region as beneficiaries of the Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH) through a virtual on boarding activity held on May 19 via Zoom.
“Mimaropa’s first batch is comprised of 30 OFWs who now form part of iFWD PH’s Batch Malikhain – DOST’s third batch of beneficiaries (2021) coming from various regions,” he reported.
“Of the 30 OFWs, 23 will be engaged in enterprises in agriculture and aquaculture while the rest will be in the food processing.”
The DOST-Mimaropa said four of the 30 OFWs come from Occidental Mindoro, seven from Oriental Mindoro, five from Marinduque, two from Romblon, and 12 from Palawan.
DOST-Mimaropa Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay noted that under iFWD PH program, a package of technology interventions will be extended to the OFW-recipients. These include capacity building sessions; technical assistance on product development; access to DOST facilities for product testing; advisory support for product marketing; funding assistance for equipment acquisition, packaging and labeling; consultancy services; and initial laboratory testing.
iFWD PH program provides support and opportunities for OFWs and their families to establish technology-based enterprises in the country through trainings and webinar sessions including technology pitching and technical consultancies.
“The on boarding activity with the theme “Preparing the Herd Towards Science, Technology, and Innovation” was designed to kickstart the journey of the OFW- beneficiaries towards becoming technopreneurs,” de la Peña said.
He said the OFWs were apprised of the two phases of iFWD PH.
Under Phase 1 or the “Capability Building for the Development and Management of Technology-based Enterprise”, core business development trainings, basic technical trainings, business concept development, business plan development, and capacity building will be provided, he said.
“Also, there will be knowledge sharing sessions with successful beneficiaries of the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) who will also act as Technology-based Entrepreneurship Advisors (TBEAs),” he added.
The DOST chief said Phase 1 started on June 2 and will run until to July 16, 2021.
He said the OFW-beneficiaries were oriented on navigation of the iFWD PH portal which will serve as the main platform of the program.
“Upon completion of Phase 1, OFWS who will be able to produce a viable business plan will be qualified for Phase 2 of the program or the “Innovation Funding for Technology-based Enterprise” wherein innovation-enabling fund (iFund) will be provided to OFW-beneficiaries for product development and testing, consultancy services, initial laboratory testing, packaging and labeling design and execution for market testing, and equipment acquisition.”
De la Peña said iFWD PH is the DOST’s “response to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to displaced OFWs, their dependents, and other Filipinos living abroad who would want to go home or invest in the country for financial stability and security.”