Published on: December 7, 2020

Pudtol, Apayao. Joana Marie Caluducan will no longer return abroad as she will be starting her own curtains and beddings business thru the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH). This is after Ms. Caluducan successfully completed the Phase 1 of the program, which entails a three-month capacity building session. She was one of the 59 graduates of the program on October 30, 2020.

The capacity building sessions include Technology Pitching, Business Matching, and online learning modules on Business Concept Development and Business Plan Development, comprising of a total of 13 sessions. The iFWD PH program will provide a maximum of PhP250,000.00 per cooperator to cover entrepreneurship and technical training, product development and market testing, operational consultancy services, initial laboratory testing, packaging and labeling design and execution of market testing, and equipment acquisition. However, the amount of equipment shall be refunded in whole without interest within a period of 3-5 years.     

The iFWD PH is a new program of the DOST spearheaded by the DOST- National Capital Region that aims to provide opportunities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their immediate families to establish technology-based enterprises in the country. The program targeted OFWs who have been repatriated or have returned to the Philippines within the last three (3) years, or those OFWs with existing contracts but should have an immediate family member, such as spouse, parent, or children more than 21 years old as a co-implementer. Aside from individual businesses, the program is also open for community-based enterprise funding.

Further, the program prioritizes businesses under food processing; furniture making; gifts, housewares, decors; agriculture, marine and aquatic resources; metals and engineering; health and pharmaceuticals; ICT electronics; and S&T services which includes engineering and IT consultancy.

As of now, Ms. Caluducan is the first OFW in CAR to apply and accomplish the Phase 1 requirement of iFWD PH. She is currently preparing her business proposal for funding. Meanwhile, the Phase 2 of the program will be the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DOST-CAR before the fund will be released to the beneficiary.

Interested parties may visit the nearest DOST-CAR Provincial S&T Center or thru the iFWD PH official website, to know more about iFWD PH.