What’s in Your Bowl: Ingredients to a Successful Business Venture for OFWs while Working in Korea

Filipinos in South Korea

Professionals and nonprofessionals from the Philippines are ubiquitous to international enterprise, with eight million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) employed abroad. Not a shock, to be sure, when the local capitalism is yet to transform itself into what its people consider satisfyingly sustainable. In fact, 10 percent of the entire population is either living or working in other countries in search of financial stability.

One of the destinations OFWs prefer to work in is South Korea.  Since August 2004, the Employment Permit System has been pulling in foreign workers to address its labor shortage. Chaebol Korean companies in particular are considered the most preferable employers. Sharlene Ramos Ceniza, an OFW working as a Seoul International School teacher, said that “The Korean conglomerates pay higher salaries than the government itself, and provide additional benefits that Filipino companies can only imagine to afford.” For Sharlene, these include generous salary, a chance to travel to nearby cities, medical coverage, and job security.

With talks of a 7.1% minimum wage increase next year, close to 50,000 Filipino workers in Korea can hope to have enough savings to start their own business while away from home. By setting aside a percentage of their pay each month and with OFW loan assistance, they will be on their way to calling themselves local entrepreneurs and giving the following business ventures a try:

Korean restaurant

Korean food is steadily paving its way for being the dine-out Asian cuisine choice among restaurant guests. Staples such as kimchi, bulgogi, sannakji and japchae appeal both to Korean and non-Korean diners. Use the money you get from your OFW loan assistance for strategic marketing strategies. Quality food and excellent customer service are the keys to increasing visibility and to keeping loyal patrons.

Floral shop

Flower arrangement in Korea has thrived as an indoor art of its own, utilizing elegant tree branches, twigs, and freshly picked flowers to brighten up spaces. The first step to tackle when planning to open a floristry business is to get a license to operate. It does not hurt to enroll in Wha-Kong Hoe School, Jeonju Tea Ceremony School, or other Pyong Yang educational establishments to earn professional certifications on arranging bouquets. One very important business tip trick is to know the peak flowering period of different species of flowers. Mugunghwa or Rose of Sharon (Korea’s national flower), for example, blooms best from June to August.

Online fashion store

With fans dressing up like their favourite celebrities, enthusiasts downloading franchise apps and games, and the undeniable success of Girls’ Generation and Big Bang, clearly the Kpop juggernaut is taking the world by storm. The profitability of online store specializing in Korean fashion accessories and apparel, therefore, is underrated. Shipping internationally is no longer as expensive as it used to be, and being online means reaching a wider audience. Talk to suppliers who can provide you quality selections at affordable prices.

What used to be an OFW’s hopeless ambition of operating a small scale business can now be a possibility. Korean products and services is earning quite a reputation in the global market, and what better time to ride than with momentum. Strike while the iron is hot they say, but at the rate Korea is going, it seems like the iron is bound to remain hot and get hotter still.


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