The Philippine Embassy in Berlin and its attached agencies, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC-Berlin) and the soon-to-open Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-Berlin), held the inaugural Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) seminar in Germany in Hamburg on 13 July, alongside the Embassy’s Consular Outreach activity at the Kleiner Michel Parish.
The TNK is a joint initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that aims to help realize the country’s Ambisyon 2040: Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay by increasing opportunities for decent work and livelihood for everyone, including overseas Filipinos.
Ambassador Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-de Vega kicked off the seminar, which drew more than 30 attendees, with an overview of the Philippine government’s priorities, policies, and programs and the role of Overseas Filipinos in realizing these. She cited the theme of this year’s Independence Day celebration, “Tapang at Malasakit,” and its relevance in guiding efforts to contribute to nation-building.
Chef Lazaro “Larry” Galicia then delivered a testimonial about getting into the food business, drawing on his experience running Larry’s Bar and Restaurant in Lübeck, one of the longest-running and best-reviewed Filipino food establishments in Germany. His sharing set off a spirited discussion with the seminar participants on the challenges of promoting Filipino food abroad, especially Filipino diners’ proclivity to compare Filipino restaurants’ fare to their own home cooking.
Jumping off from Chef Larry’s experiences, Commercial Counselor Althea Antonio talked about the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship, and outlined different business models that Overseas Filipinos can consider, such as franchising, startup ventures, e-commerce, and agri-tourism. She noted that more than 1,000 DTI Negosyo Centers have been set up all over the country to support new businesses. She encouraged the seminar participants, however, to do a self-analysis on which line of business would be most suitable for them, before taking the leap. Alternatively, family members of overseas Filipinos could be encouraged to invest remittances from overseas in business ventures.
Ms Kristine Wiesner, a Filipino based in Hamburg who has worked with a German renewable energy company, then gave a presentation about opportunities to invest in energy projects in the Philippines. She noted that renewable energy projects that help bring electricity to off-grid communities can be particularly rewarding, not only in the financial sense, but also in terms of its contribution to sustainability and social uplift.
Incoming Labor Attaché to Germany Atty. Delmer Cruz rounded off the event with a briefing on the services offered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), including its provision of livelihood loans and assistance to Overseas Filipinos with eligible business plans.
The Embassy, together with PTIC-Berlin, POLO-Berlin, as well as the Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt, intends to roll out the TNK program to other cities in Germany with sizeable Filipino communities. (END)