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By: Krizzia Mei C. Esperanza

Pioneering the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Program for OFWs in the region, DOST-CALABARZON conducted an orientation on the Capability Building Phase (Phase 1) of the Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH) attended by around 60 OFW-participants last April 14, 2021 via Zoom.

The iFWD PH, launched in 2020, “aims to provide support opportunities for OFWs and their immediate families to establish technology-based enterprises in the country”—a DOST answer to the adverse impact of the pandemic to our economic landscape. Ms. In her welcome message, Emelita P. Bagsit, OIC – Regional Director of the DOST-CALABARZON, hoped that through the iFWD PH, repatriated OFWs and their dependents would be able to recover from last and this year’s challenges. “Congratulations and welcome to your journey in technopreneurship,” she remarked.

Ms. Lyn A. Fernandez, Regional Program Management Operation (RPMO) Unit Head, discussed the activities under each of the two phases of the iFWD PH.

 Ms. Lyn A. Fernandez, TO-RPMO Unit Head, outlines the activities for the Capability Building Phase (Phase 1) of the iFWD PH, April 14, 2021.

Through the Capability Building Phase (Phase 1), the accepted applicants will be guided, step-by-step, on how to establish and maintain their own technology-based business. DOST-CALABARZON partnered with the Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative, Inc. to facilitate Phase 1. Atikha Chairperson Estrella Mai Dizon-Añonuevo presented the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) online training for OFWs and their families, as part of their “BalikaBayanihan: Bayanihan Para sa Balik Kabayan” initiatives. The topics for the 6-week training beginning April 21 are Business Idea Screening, Digital Marketing, Business Registration, Law and Taxation, among others.

Ms. Estrella Mai Dizon-Añonuevo, Chairperson of the Atikha, details the SIYB training package, April 14, 2021.

During the Phase 1, while training, the participants will be monitored and mentored in crafting and improving their business plan, ready for the Innovation Funding (iFund) Phase (Phase 2) of the iFWD PH. The DOST allotted a maximum of Php 250,000 as iFund support to be lent to each successful participant who has completed Phase 1 at no interest rate. Besides the DOST, Ms. Dizon-Añonuevo detailed a matrix of financing opportunities which the participants may explore. 

Since the trainings will be online, RPMO staff Ms. Jann Camille P. Sager and Ms. Kristel Irene Masilungan, guided the participants on how to navigate the iFWD PH Portal (https://ifwdph.dost.gov.ph/login) and how to use the Zoom application, respectively. The Portal contains the schedule of the Phase 1 webinars, training materials, and a community forum while Zoom will be the primary platform of the webinars.

Engr. Francisco R. Barquilla III, OIC – Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations, during his closing message, assured that the DOST-CALBARZON regional and provincial shepherd staff for the iFWD PH will provide the needed learning assistance to all participants throughout the program.

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