Balikbayan OFWs turned technopreneurs were the highlight of DOST Report Episode 20 last September 11, 2020.
DOST Report is an online weekly show of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It is aired over DOSTv every Friday at 4:00pm. DOST Sec. Boy dela Peña himself provides the report with the assistance of the host, Onin Miranda. DOST Report airs new and relevant news about Science and Technology (S&T). It highlights S&T as it relates to health, the future, and livelihood.
For Episode 20, the show featured success stories from Balikbayan OFWs turned technopreneurs. Certainly, Balikbayan OFWs can be technopreneurs w/ DOST-SETUP. If you’re an OFW who thinks of starting a business, this article is for you!
What is DOST-SETUP?
SETUP is a flagship program by DOST and it stands for Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program. It is a nationwide strategy that aims to:
- Encourage and assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
- Adopt technological innovations to improve their products, services, operations
- Increase their productivity and competitiveness
Moreover, the program is not exclusive to OFWs, but is open to all Filipinos who seek assistance with their businesses.
Let us look at the success stories of OFWs turned entrepreneurs assisted by DOST SETUP.
Success Stories of Balikbayan OFWs Turned Technopreneurs w/ DOST-SETUP
Hailing from Benguet, Kimbungan was an OFW in Taiwan from 1989-1992.
Later, he came back to the Philippines and picked up an interest in beekeeping. Kimbungan then decided that he wanted to pursue the beekeeping industry. Having that in mind, he went back to Taiwan from 1994-1996 to earn capital money for his business. While he was growing his business, he became interested in organic farming.
With the help of DOST-SETUP, his business expanded and thrived even more. For example:
- Processing herbal teas
- Added 6 more herbs to his product line
- Started mushroom production
- Produced herbal wine and other products
He advised his other fellow OFW Balikbayans to think of a plan if they intend to come back home to the Philippines. Just like him reaching out to DOST-SETUP for assistance, he encouraged other OFWs, too. In that way, they can earn while also being able to enjoy the presence of their families.
Balikbayan OFWs Turned Technopreneurs with the Support of DOST-SETUP
DOST REPORT was presented by Sec. Boy de laPeña and hosted by Onin S. Miranda.
DOST REPORT Episode 20 highlighted three OFWs who successfully started their own businesses to share their stories. They each shared how DOST-SETUP helped them kickstart their own businesses and made them successful technopreneurs. Read their stories below.
1. Benjie Inocencio (Journey Woodblock Enterprises)
Before Mr. Inocencio became a successful technopreneur, he used to work in Kuwait as an OFW. He was a woodworker. He had previously failed in businesses. That’s why he decided to try his luck abroad.
While abroad, he struggled in Kuwait because he was only a contracted worker and earned only commissions. Aside from that, he also had a hard time communicating due to the large language barrier. Because he was more of a freelancer, it was hard to know what his actual job position was. However, due to his efforts, he was quickly promoted after 6 months as a CNC Program Operator.
Later, when he decided to go back home in the Philippines, he brought back materials to start his own woodworking business – Journey Woodblock Enterprises. However, Inocencio had a hard time running his business due to financial problems.
Five years later, he discovered DOST-SETUP which contributed greatly to his business. He recounted the benefits that he received from DOST-SETUP:
- Helped provide capital for business
- He was able to buy a CNC machine with the help of DOST-SETUP providing him a payment plan
- 0% interest paying back and even helped them with installment plans
- Lessened waste from production, and became an environmental-friendly business
- Tripled production and made work more efficient
From the assistance he received from DOST-SETUP, he was able to help provide jobs to other people who were unskilled. Additionally, he also helped them raise their skill levels which eventually helped his former workers apply for job opportunities elsewhere.
“To our fellow Kababayans who want to start their business, I am encouraging you to ask for assistance with DOST-SETUP. You will not regret it. With DOST, you will definitely feel that they are willing to help you.”-Benjie Inocencio, Journey Woodblock Enterprises
2. Elizabeth B. Noval (Dackies Food)
Ms. Elizabeth was previously an OFW from New Zealand. Now, she is the co-owner of Dackies Foods along with her husband. Dackies Foods produces chicharon and banana chips.
Her business journey started when she realized that in New Zealand, you cannot easily get a job because you still have to study there despite finishing higher education in the Philippines. As a result, she had to work in a factory. She later decided to come back to the Philippines to look for business opportunities here.
Ms. Elizabeth first sold chicharon as her business’s sole product. Later on, since she had a plot of land, she started planting saba trees. She later turned the saba harvests into banana chips.
With the help of DOST-SETUP, she was able to improve her packaging to make it more marketable, efficient, and appealing to customers. She also mentioned that DOST helped with the nutrifact analysis and acquiring equipment such as cleaning machines, tables, etc.
It has now been 9 years since she sought the help of DOST-SETUP and her business has come a long way. She hoped DOST would be able to help more enterprising Filipinos. For aspiring entrepreneurs, she advised looking into the DOST-SETUP program.
3. Roldan Peig (Diane and Roldan Food Products)
Mr. Roldan Peig is the owner/proprietor of Diane and Roldan Food Products which he runs with his wife. Their business produces various food products such as ham, longganisa, siomai, and many more.
Mr. Roldan was a former seaman who finished Marine Engineering. For the past years, he worked abroad as an oiler. It meant he was down with the machines all the time. He then realized how hard it was to work below decks, unlike those who worked in the galley such as ship cooks.
After finishing his contract, he decided to study culinary and eventually started his own cooking business. His family started a small karinderya business when they thought of the idea to pursue the food processing industry. However, they lacked the resources to do so, and they sought the assistance of DOST-SETUP.
11 years later, their business has grown and is still thriving. With the help of DOST-SETUP, they were able to buy machines needed for food processing to ensure the food quality and service of their business. Because of this, they were able to increase their production and quality.
[Ang DOST ay] sandigan kaagapay sa maliit na negosyo na walang puhunan. Nandyan lagi nakasuporta, tunay na maasahan at di ka iiwanan.-Roldan Peig (Diane and Roldan Food Products)
How To Be a Successful Technopreneur
As we can see, despite the clear difference of their fields of businesses, they still benefited greatly from the DOST-SETUP program. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or if you’re looking to start a business but have financial troubles, then this program is for you! Contact your respective DOST regions now about the DOST-SETUP program and kick-start your journey on becoming a successful technopreneur.
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