8 Tried and Tested Business Ideas for OFWs

Pinoys work abroad in order to earn more and come back to the Philippines. Oftentimes, OFWs have the chance to start fresh and seek for ways to start a business. Business is the primary way for Filipinos not to have to return working for another company, but use the knowledge they've gained abroad to be their own boss. This brought rise to the livelihood development programs created for OFWs to succeed in business and come back to the Philippines for good.


Sari Sari Store / Mini-grocery Business 


The humble sari-sari store is a symbol of the Filipino entrepreneur. The sari-sari store or mini-grocery can be seen on almost every street and sidewalk, with colorful banners and whimsical names. It's been a great vehicle for starting Filipino businessman in the past, and is still a great investment today. Starting a sari-sari store follows a basic concept that can be replicated through business agencies, but the key driver is location. When starting a sari-sari store, assure that it is located in a prime spot with a lot of foot traffic or office buildings.


What's great about a sari-sari store is that it requires minimal investment with low overhead costs. Family members can easily take turns manning the booth and even the youngest of them can learn about business at an early age.




Franchising is one of the simplest and safest methods to start a business for the pinoys who work abroad. Franchisors teach their franchisees everything they need to know on how to run the particular franchise, from operation, human resource and financials. Franchising is a great way to learn about business from professionals. Franchises are a great way to start a family run business where kids can learn how to operate the branch from their parents.


On the other side of franchising, finding the right partner is the challenge. In this type of business, you must find the right business to be involved in, one that is dedicated to their franchisees. You should attend seminars and training sessions regularly and comply to the different rules and regulations of the company.


Real Estate


For most pinoys working abroad, they earn enough that they can buy real estate back in the Philippines. The downside of this is that there are a lot of attractive offers in real estate that are not income generating.


Real Estate can be a great business if you're educated. Before figuring out how you want to go about your real estate business, from selling as a broker, or buying and selling real estate, attend real estate business seminars like the ones conducted by Think Rich Pinoy, a team who has been buying and selling real estate for years in the Philippines. 


Aside from this, OFWs have access to huge customer base of fellow OFWs who are looking for real estate to invest in back home in the Philippines. 


Internet Cafe


An Internet Cafe has proven to be a withstanding business model in the Philippines. Internet cafes have opened up everywhere from malls to business areas, and the population of these stores keeps on growing. Internet Cafes have different models, some primarily for gaming, others for students, among other models. 


The most important step is to find a prime location with a lot of foot traffic coming from your target market. Secondly, assure your store has access to a good broadband connection. Lastly, the computers will be important. You can purchase brand new computers or second hand units from different electronics shops. A simpler method would be to retrieve an Internet Cafe Package from existing cafes, and build up from there. 


Online Selling (E-commerce)


E-commerce is booming. With social media at its peak with websites and applications like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, one can interact with their customers and display their products just as effectively online than in a traditional brick and mortar shop. There are many websites like Shopify and even Facebook offering methods on how to easily open an online shop, which even includes the financial concerns that gets raised when opening an online shop.


With an online shop, you can sell anything from fashion apparel and accessories, to electronics and even furniture. Displaying pictures, marketing the products online and interacting with the customer can be done anywhere with a good Internet connection. With the success of many direct selling businesses that made it big through bazaars and offline stores, online stores allow businessmen to sell their product without shelling out a lot of capital.


Manpower and Recruitment Placement Agency


Having being employed abroad, pinoys who have worked abroad have the best opportunity to hook up companies with individuals looking for work abroad. Countries like the Middle East, US, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong constantly look for Filipino workers for different jobs. 


The business is primarily concerned with building a big network, coordination and scheduling. Family members who are eager to learn about the recruitment business can easily do these.


The most important requirement is that your company is duly credited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to run an overseas manpower recruitment agency. With the growing need of human resource, it's a business that will only grow. 


Cellphone Loading Station


An easy and underrated business any OFW can start is to open a cellphone loading station. Everyone in the family can be their own loading station, from a housewife to a student. Firstly, the capital needed to start this venture is one of the lowest. All you need is to purchase a retailer sim and a mobile device (Nokia 3210 is highly recommended). Secondly, load or mobile credit serves so many different uses such as being able to pay bills, transfer funds, pay for mobile entertainment and much more. Mobile credit is a resource that every Pinoy needs, and with majority of Pinoys owning cellphones, you'll surely have a ton of customers. Also, the Philippines has a growing market when it comes to the possibilities of mobile, you can sell data packages, application packages and much more. 


Water Refilling Station


Water is a necessity not a luxury; it is something that everybody needs. This means that you'll have a great customer base and have a lot of people flocking to your water refilling station. The job of handling a water refilling station can be run by a single family unit, tasks for handling the station can easily be managed by students and is a great start for an aspiring entrepreneur. 


One can easily get a franchise to start their business, but one can always research on their own and find the equipment for a discount. The most important thing for a water refilling station is a great location where you can attract a lot of customers. 

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