One of the many initiatives that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) launched to support the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is the Helping the Economy Recover thru OFW Enterprise Start-ups (HEROES) Loan Program.
The HEROES Loan Program is a collaborative program between OWWA, the Small Business Corporation (SB Corporation), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It is a lending program launched from SB Corporation’s Php 100-million loan facility under DTI’s Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) CARES Program. The program is the Philippine government’s initiative meant to “pay back” the repatriated OFWs and assist them in rebuilding their lives with a brand-new business venture. If you are a retrenched OFW looking to start a business to kickstart your new life back home, then this guide has everything you need to know and more.
What is the OWWA HEROES Loan Program
The OWWA HEROES Loan Program is a loan offered by the Philippine government to returning OFWs who have lost their jobs as a result of the recent global health crisis. The program name, HEROES, stands for Helping the Economy Recover thru OFW Enterprise Start-ups. It was launched in July 2020 as a special loan program for OFWs offered by the DTI as a component of the P3 CARES Program via the SB Corporation’s P100-million loan facility.
The HEROES Loan Program is a one-of-a-kind no-interest, no-collateral loan offered to all repatriated land-based and non-professional OFWs who wish to launch a new business upon their return to the Philippines.
With HEROES, the Philippine government aims to help the OFWs rebuild their livelihood as brand-new entrepreneurs. For this reason, the HEROES Program was designed to not only support them financially. On top of the financial assistance offered by the loan, the HEROES Program also provides would-be entrepreneurs with training and services related to setting up and operating a business as well as troubleshooting skills related to business operations.
Benefits of OWWA HEROES Loan Program
Some of the benefits that OFW returnees who will be availing the OWWA HEROES Loan Program are as follows:
- A no-interest, no collateral loan
- Borrowing limits ranging from a minimum of Php 10,000.00 to a maximum of Php 100,000.00
- Zero-interest rate
- No collateral required
- For 24-month loans: A 6% service fee
- For 36-month loans (inclusive of a 12-month grace period): An 8% service fee
- A built-in 12-month grace period
- Business training and mentoring
- Free related marketing and business operation services
Qualifications for OWWA HEROES Loan Program
The HEROES Loan Program is open to all repatriated OFWs provided that they satisfy the following criteria:
- Land-based OFWs returning to the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Non-professional OFWs who have returned to the Philippines due to layoffs caused by the COVID-19
- Repatriated and returning land-based or sea-based OFWs who want to start their own businesses
Requirements for OWWA HEROES Loan Program
When applying for the privileges offered by OWWA and DTI via the HEROES Program, interested OFWs must prepare the following documentary requirements:
- One (1) valid government-issued photo ID
- Scanned copy of passport
- Duly accomplished HEROES Loan Application Form
- DTI Registration
- OWWA certification or confirmation of repatriation of the OFW applicant
- Audio-Visual Presentation (AVP) of the Business Plan
- Certificate of Completion (COC) for an online training session for start-ups from the Philippine Trade and Training Center (PTTC)
Depending on the amount of loan, the following additional documents may be required:
For Loans amounting to Php 10,000.00 to Php 50,000.00
- DTI Registration
- Video Business Pitch
For Loans amounting to Php 50,000.00 up to Php 100,000.00
- SEC Registration
- Municipal/Mayor’s Business Permit
- Business Model Canvas
Application Procedures for OWWA HEROES Loan Program
If you are a repatriated OFW and you want to apply for the HEROES Loan program, please follow this step-by-step guide:
- Register for the HEROES program by pre-registering for the online PTTC training by going to this link: http://bit.ly/HEROESRegistrationForm.
- Make sure to complete all the needed information for the registration, including the following:
- Applicant’s name
- Mobile number
- Passport number
- Email address
- Educational attainment
- Occupation as an OFW
- Return date to the Philippines
- Complete the free 3-day online training at the Philippine Trade and Training Center (PTTC), the DTI training arm.
- Prepare the following requirements for your loan application once you’ve completed the training.
- A scanned copy of your passport
- An audio-visual presentation (AVP) of the business including the following:
- the nature of your business
- product knowledge
- management capability
- financial understanding
- market opportunity
- competitive advantage
- business continuity
- Business Model Canvas
- To proceed with your loan application visit this link: https://brs.sbgfc.org.ph/heroes
- Submit the following requirements along with your application:
- one valid government-issued photo ID
- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) certification or proof of being a repatriated OFW
- Audio-visual presentation (AVP) of business plan
- DTI registration
- Certificate of completion of online training session for start-ups conducted by PTTC
- Submit additional information as required by SB Corporation
Before you apply for the HEROES Loan Program, here are a few things you need to know:
- The application process starts when the OFW attends the free online training conducted by the Philippines Trade Training Center (PTTC).
- The loan funds is to be used solely as working capital to begin and maintain business activities.
- Current and prospective CARES borrowers are expected to repay the loan on time and according to the amortization plan.
- SB Corporation will take legal action if the loan is not paid.
- Failure to pay on time will result in a negative credit record.
- The HEROES loan is capped at P100,000.00 for every OFW borrower.
- No other government reintegration program offers interest-free and collateral-free livelihood loans.
- SB Corp’s credit doesn’t require any collateral and profit track record of any ongoing business.
- Applicants must complete the free PTTC entrepreneurship seminar.
- Loan applicants are required to prepare a business plan, and an AVP.
- A one-on-one session with an entrepreneur will be scheduled so he/she can mentor the OFW applicant.
- SB Corp’s livelihood loan is payable over 24 months, but repayment has a built-in 12-month grace period.
- Loan repayment starts on the 13th month of the 36-month loan tenor.
Understanding the HEROES Loan Program Better
To help you understand the program better, here’s an explainer video uploaded by Youtuber Team Decena.
Watch the full video here:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some common questions and answers regarding the HEROES loan:
1. What is the Small Business Corporation?
The Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) is a government-run financial institution created in January 1991 to implement and provide assistance to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in all areas of business operations.
2. How much can I borrow via the HEROES Program?
Under the HEROES Program, borrowers are offered a minimum of Php 10,000.00 and a maximum of up to P100,000.00.
3. Can I avail of the HEROES program if I’m land-based OFW?
Yes, land-based and non-professional OFWs who were forced to return to the Philippines due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may apply in the HEROES Loan Program.
4. How many repayment options are available for the loan?
The HEROES Loan Program offers two repayment options: First, to pay the loan within a 24-month period, and second, to pay it within a 36-month period inclusive of a 12-month built-in grace period.
5. For the built-in grace period of the HEROES Loan Program, how many months are included?
According to the terms and conditions of the loan program, the built-in grace period can last for up to 12 months, or half of the loan repayment duration, whichever comes first.
6. Can I submit my application directly to the OWWA/DTI Office?
No. All applications must be done online via this link: http://bit.ly/HEROESRegistrationForm.
7. Are OFW RISE and OFW HEROES Programs one and the same?
In case you’re wondering, the answer is no. OFW RISE and OFW HEROES are not the same program. They are two different initiatives, although they were both designed to help repatriated OFWs.
Helping the Economy Recover thru OFW Enterprise Start-ups (HEROES) Program is a pretty neat loan project that DTI and OWWA has come up with in order to provide assistance to repatriated OFWs who want to start their own business back home. It’s not the best program out there, considering that it’s a loan that you will eventually have to pay back, but we suppose taking a no-collateral, no-interest loan is a good thing, nonetheless.
In any case, as a program meant to be the government’s way of assisting OFWs, we think this deserves a bit more exposure so that more OFWs will be aware that a program exists to help them adjust, and hopefully start anew with their own stable source of livelihood.
In case you wish to learn more about the OFW HEROES Loan program, you may reach out to the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) through the following contact information
The Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation (SBGFC)
Email address: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone number: (632) 8 651-3333
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BayanihanCARES/