Home SparkUp New DoST-NCR, SCALE NCR partnership to help OFWs build better tech-based businesses

New DoST-NCR, SCALE NCR partnership to help OFWs build better tech-based businesses

The National Capital Regional Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST-NCR) is partnering with a consortium of technology business innovators (TBIs) to help returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families who are enrolled in the DoST’s Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH) Program to start and sustain their technology-based startups and business enterprises.

The DoST-NCR will be signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalize this agreement with the Strategic and Collaborative Alliance for Leveraging Ecosystem of Startups — National Capital Region (SCALE NCR), a startup ecosystem consortium of TBIs in NCR, on Feb. 28 at the Innovatrium, Miriam College, Katipunan, Quezon City.

Launched in 2020, iFWD PH is the DoST’s initiative to assist OFWs who lost their jobs abroad due to the pandemic, and have had to go back home with no immediate prospects of employment. iFWD PH gives these OFWs and their families the opportunity to start their own technology-based businesses under the tutelage of the DoST’s experts.

The DoST-NCR is the lead DoST regional office in the implementation of the iFWD PH program.

After about three years of implementation, iFWD PH Program now emerged as the DoST’s flagship program for the reintegration of the OFWs who are seeking business opportunities while still abroad or after serving their contracts overseas.

The program is made up of two phases: capability building for STI-based business development (Phase 1); and innovation funding support for a starting or existing business owned by an OFW, OFW family, or group of OFWs (Phase 2).

In its first three years of implementation, 626 OFWs were trained under Phase 1, and 74 OFW-led businesses received funding support under Phase 2. These business ventures fell under the following categories: food, creatives, health and wellness, software development, metal fabrication, and agriculture.

The program has so far generated 104 employments as of 2023, not including the OFW business owners.

With the signing of the MoU with TBI partners, the beneficiaries will have the added advantage of being guided by mentors from the Technological Institute of the Philippines Nurture Innovation and Revolution Office, Adamson University Neo Science and Technology Incubation Center, De La Salle University Animo Labs, Mapua Think and Tinker Laboratory, Miriam College TBI, UPSCALE Innovation Hub, TOMASinno Center, and QBO Innovation Hub.

SCALE NCR has the capacity to provide a comprehensive package of support on business ideation for startup businesses, and incubation for established technology-based startups, such as those that are being assisted under the iFWD PH Program. The consortium has also committed to support the program, specifically in the development of modules and knowledge materials for the iFWD PH Phase 1: Early-Stage Business Ideation with Technology Business Incubators, and iFWD PH Phase 2: Incubation for Funded OFWs.

SCALE NCR is being supported by the DoST-NCR and the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), an agency of the DoST, to promote technopreneurship in the regions through skills enhancement, mentorship, and capacity-building of startups and enterprises.

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