Gov’t encourages OFWs to start their own firms

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04:35 AM February 11th, 2013

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By: Riza T. Olchondra, February 11th, 2013 04:35 AM

Filipino domestic helpers line up to send money at a remittance center in the central district of Hong Kong in this 2008 file photo. The government is beefing up efforts to reintegrate returning overseas Filipino workers through programs encouraging them to start businesses, the National Economic and Development Authority said. AFP/TED ALJIBE

MANILA, Philippines—The government is beefing up efforts to reintegrate returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through programs encouraging them to start businesses, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can harness the resources, experience and expertise grained by OFWs to generate employment and contribute to development.

Balisacan is also Neda director general.

The government, through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has put up the BALinkBayan (Business Advisory Link para sa Bayan) website to help OFWs set up businesses and investments in the Philippines.

The website provides a link to DTI’s One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) program, as well as other community-level convergence programs of the Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, and Environment and Natural Resources.

Neda said that other enterprise programs under the MSME Development Plan: 2011-2016 also aim to encourage local entrepreneurs and returning OFWs to invest their resources in the country.

As of June 2012, 19,403 participants were trained in weaving, bamboo processing, making handmade paper, branding, management and values formation to increase their productivity and access to markets.

In 2011, 2,034 OFWs were provided training by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Philippine Trade Training Center to encourage them to become entrepreneurs.

Similarly, the Rural Micro Enterprise Promotion Program continues to provide financial (microfinance) as well as technical assistance to promote the development of microenterprises.

As of June 2012, a total of 44,061 microenterprises were provided microfinancing (126 percent of target) while 22,073 (or 147 percent of target) were provided business development services, including capacity building and product development.

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