SERDEF-IOM project for OFW-entrepreneurs spawns business plans

In Agusan del Sur, Antique,  and Masbate,  groups of OFWs and their families completed last June an entrepreneurship training  in pre-identified small-scale manufacturing and agri-based industries: abaca and rubber for Agusan del Sur, muscovado sugar for Antique, and livestock raising for Masbate.

The training was conducted under the project “Chanelling Remittances for Enterprise Development (CRED)-Part 2” implemented by the  Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation (SERDEF)  and the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI) for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The training sought to inculcate entrepreneurial motivation among OFW groups and develop in them skills in business opportunity identification, business planning and management, and marketing, production, and organizational strategy formulation for the pre-identified industries and products.

The training output consisted of business plans and business feasibility studies ready for submission to rural banks and micro finance institutions for financing.

Entrepreneurship training is only one of four components of the project.

The first was an entrepreneurship advocacy campaign organized in all three provinces. The campaign aimed to reorient mindsets on the sustainable use of remittances for productive activities, with modules on value creation, gender values in entrepreneurship development, financial literacy, financial planning fundamentals, basic economics, understanding credit, and savings mobilization.   Aside from OFWs and their families, representatives from local government units, micro finance institutions, and OFW communities and other stake holders attended the forums.

The advocacy  campaign was followed by a capacity-building program for business development service providers in the three areas, including staff from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA), microfinance institutions, and rural banks.  The program aimed to develop skills and capabilities in promoting entrepreneurship and providing support services to micro, small and medium enterprises.

At present, the project is into its fourth and final stage: the provision of post-training advice and business development services for enterprises to be set up.  These include advice and assistance in accessing loans, starting a business, registering a business, installing a bookkeeping system, technology acquisition, and other need-based mentoring.

The CRED project started in 2010  as a research study to formulate model mechanisms  for channeling  OFW remittances to productive and sustainable use for the benefit of the migrant workers, their children, their families and their communities.  This became Part 1 of the CRED project.

The study recommended channeling the remittances to enterprise creation through market interventions to trigger socio-economic growth in the target provinces.

Using the value chain analysis approach, the study identified priority industries to be supported for each province: abaca, rubber, muscovado and livestock raising.

The current CRED project or CRED Part 2 implements, on a pilot basis, the recommendations coming out of CRED Part 1, explains Project Manager Nida Lavador.

She also clarified that the OFW groups need not limit their entrepreneurial activities to the pre-identified business projects; they could engage in other promising enterprises as well.

Photos: Entrepreneurship training and business planning workshops in Agusan del Sur

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