10 Small Business Ideas for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)


Sari-Sari Store

sari sari store

Sari-Sari stores are prominent in the Philippines. It promotes the concept of “tingi-tingi” or piece by piece for the convenience of the locals. For a capital of 70,000 – 100,000 pesos, you can have your very own sari-sari store! The products to be sold are mostly basic needs that are too troublesome to buy at the local supermarket especially if you are lacking the time. This includes raw eggs, shampoo, chips, or instant coffee that are sold per piece to be able to accommodate the current need of the customer. One of the marketing strategies is to not over price the products so as to not discourage the customers from buying. 

Milk tea Shops

Booming in the current market are cafes or restaurants that sell boba or milk tea. The refreshing and sweet beverage entices customers to bring relief to the tropical climate of the Philippines. Some shops promote aesthetics while some just offer the basic service of serving the beverage which is why the capital for this kind of business greatly varies. For a starter, as small as 30,000 pesos is enough to start a small milk tea shop by yourself. Franchising can be a different story due to the since you are also buying the name of the company. Usually, 300,000 pesos is needed to franchise a small milk tea shop. 

Food Carts

Food Carts are popular in the Philippines due to the affordable food offered as well as its accessibility to the people. For as low as 200,000 pesos, you can have a franchised food cart such as Master Siomai and Citrus Zone. In-mall kiosks are often pricier as compared to the mobile food carts due to the different fees for renting and permits.Of course, capital can also vary depending on the food cart that you would like to franchise. However, due to the success of food carts in the Philippines, the investment is surely worth it. Interested? Just check the application process of the food cart you would like to franchise. 


Though wet markets are more preferred in the Philippines, meat shops have an edge by bringing quality products safe from contaminating factors present on the wet market. Moreover, it offers accessibility to people as compared to wet markets that are usually crowded during weekends. Capital ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 pesos to buy yourself some freezers, knives, weighing scales, and the meat to sell. Usually, processed meats are sold by starters which includes cured foods like tapa and longganisa. The 20,000 range can bring you all these with an addition of raw meats such as poultry and pork. 

Barbecue or Ihawan Business

Walking the long streets of the market or sometimes a tourist spot, you could sometimes smell this familiar scent. The scent of smoke from the cooking pork skewers and that spicy vinegar with cucumber, onions, and red chili peppers hitting that spot in your nose. You can let other people experience this with just as little as 5,000 pesos and can vary depending on what you are selling. Other Ihawan can be quite expensive as they sell seafood as well such as grilled squid or milkfish. Start with simple and low-cost foods such as betamax (chicken’s blood) or pork barbeque. 


Vlogging is widespread in the Philippines as the country is also known as the social media capital of the world. As an Overseas Filipino Worker, if you have a knack for storytelling, you can always show your travels and work. It can also be a way for you to connect with your homeland as you help other Filipinos experience other countries, at least virtually. This business usually requires some cameras and lighting that can cost you at least 20,000 pesos. Still, a pretty good investment if you tell me, especially if you enjoy reviewing the things you do as well as documenting your travels as an OFW.

Online Fashion Boutique

The online world has its perks that are sure to make your business successful. Aside from ease of access from customers, as a business owner, you can bring your work wherever you go. From pre-loved clothes to accessories and gadgets, you can always bring a broad platform to the people. Costing from about 15,000 pesos as a starting point, you can already start this online business. Selling of pre-loved clothes is an evident business in the Philippines which is also easy to set-up to the ubiquity of suppliers that sell bales of clothes. If you really want to be more diverse, you can always add more products to your market. 

Plant Shop

Being a plantita/plantito (aunt/uncle avid of plants) can always be an option for OFWs. But let’s be realistic, you would always need a caretaker for this kind of business. However, starting such a business is very accommodating to all walks of life. You may already have some grown plants that you can use as a start-up but still you can invest in some plants such as orchids. The main cost of this business is usually on the soil and fertilizers that you need to provide as well as the pot for plants. Starting with a capital investment of 5,000 pesos, you can now formally start your very own plant shop. 

Vending Machine

Vending machines are not limited to the classic food or drink dispenser that we know of. In the Philippines, wifi vending machines can be found where a peso could give you about 5 minutes of internet access. This is useful in many situations such as emergencies where you need internet connection without having to register in data plans. If you want to be one of the people who can help and provide internet connection for a very small amount, you can invest in wifi vending machines for around 17,000 pesos. These machines are usually bought from shops as they are configured. But don’t be worried, you can simply search ‘wifi vending machines’ on the internet and you would be able to buy one with the proper help. 

Car Wash Business

Machine and technology for unmanned car washing is available in many parts of the world. In the Philippines, this is yet to be applied. That’s why you’ll have to stick with hiring laborers as well as investing in machines used for car wash such as power washers and vacuum cleaners. 70,000 is usually the starting price of building a car wash. Still, the price can rise rapidly depending on the services you are offering. Detailing usually fetches a large sum of money as compared to simple vacuum and body wash. You can always simply start by building a catalog or researching the items you need for washing cars. Of course you should invest the same time in looking for the best cleaning products to be used that will endorse the quality of your work. 

Back To Top