BPI Foundation, the social development arm of BPI, recently held the launch of the second run of BPI Sulong, a learning program on financial management and entrepreneurship skills targeting overseas Filipino workers. The event was held in Hong Kong, which has a large population of Filipina migrant workers.
"As a leading Filipino financial institution, BPI - through the Foundation - is in a unique position to advance financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills among Filipinos, not just in the Philippines, but around the world," said Maricris San Diego, Executive Director, BPI Foundation. "Migrant workers, specifically domestic workers in Hong Kong, are one of the most financially vulnerable sectors we have identified. Given their above average salaries and desperation to improve the lives of their families, they are prey to most loan sharks both here and abroad. We started BPI Sulong to reach out to these women and empower them with the discipline, perspective, and skills to uplift themselves as individuals and their families back home. This way, they can make financially sound decisions, have open more job opportunities for themselves, and maybe even start their own ventures here in the country, where they can be together with their loved ones."
Since it started last year, BPI Foundation has already reached 500 overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong and 150 families in the Philippines. This year, it aims to expand to reach 1060 overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong and their 250 families back in the Philippines.
Rowena Anggaco is a domestic worker in Hong Kong who, since having graduated from BPI Sulong, has already explored her own business venture CROP Marketland Limited in her home province Kalinga, Apayao. With the financial management and entrepreneurial skills BPI Sulong has imparted to Anggaco, she is now able to handle the business while working in Hong Kong.
"I’ve been working in Korea and Hong Kong for several years but never saved much," Anggaco confessed. “Since my participation in the financial education course, I have made more provisions in my financial management – particularly with my savings. BPI Sulong gave me and my husband more hope, financial skills, and a clearer timeline when I can go home. Now with my business plan, we can reap the benefits of our ancestral land for the Tanudan Tribe.”
Anggaco designed CROP Marketland Limited as the one-stop show for agricultural needs of indigenous people like training and micro-financing. She developed her business plan while completing the BPI Sulong program, which received award at the Sulong Entrepreneurship Business Plan Recital in Hong Kong.