Peer to Peer Learning for WEBC
“Supporting Fiji’s most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, is a priority for New Zealand’s development assistance in Fiji.”
This was highlighted by the Deputy High Commissioner of New Zealand Michelle Podmore whilst opening the Women Entrepreneurs in Business Council (WEBC), peer to peer learning session at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Suva on Saturday.
Ms Podmore acknowledged Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) and Business Link Pacific (BLP) for their support towards this session.
She added that New Zealand’s Business Link Pacific initiative directly links SMEs to business advisory services providing subsidised corporate support services, benefiting both SMEs and the business service industry in Fiji.
“Once New Zealand has commenced quarantine-free travel with Australia, Niue and the Cook Islands, we may be in a position to begin conversations with other Pacific neighbours, including Fiji, on quarantine-free travel arrangements,” said Ms Podmore.
She further applauded Fiji’s response to COVID-19 and how well the country has maintained its community transmissions at 0%.
“Fiji’s health response to the crisis has been world class. It is now over 300 days since Fiji last reported a case of local COVID transmission, testament to the speed and strength of its border measures,” said Ms Podmore.
Meanwhile BLP Manager Ramesh Chand highlighted some delighting figures of the number of SMEs that have already approached BLP for advisory services.
Mr Chand stated that 690 SMEs have already gone through the Business Health Check services, 470 SMEs have gone through the Business Continuity Planner check and 110 businesses have gone through the business diagnosis for their businesses.
He further elaborated that 338 SMEs have been assisted by BLP so far on a total cost of $1.28M out of which 12 were WEBC members.
The BLP Manager shared their future plans of collaborating with the banks and also launching the finance facility finder.
“BLP under its finance facility program has a business adaptation grant and concessional loan options. Business adaptation grant application has closed and BLP is currently assessing the applications. BLP is also talking with local banks and financial institutions on providing loans to SMEs at a concessional rate,” said Mr Chand.