Fiji’s First Private Sector led Business Accelerator Launch Partnership

Micro, small enterprise and medium enterprises contribute over 18 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide employment for approximately 60 per cent of the Fijian labour force.
18 Mar 2019 13:18
Fiji’s First Private Sector led Business Accelerator Launch Partnership
Standing front from left: International Labour Organisation director Donglin Li, Minister for Industry Tourism and Trade Premila Kumar, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Anna Dorney, recipient Market Development Facility (MDF) Fiji’s deputy country director Malcolm Bossley with the 15 pioneer young men and women from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector on March 15, 2019. Photo: Lusiana Tuimaisala.

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) in partnership with the Australian Government funded Market Development Facility (MDF) have launched the Fiji Enterprise Engine (FEE).

FEE is Fiji’s first private-sector-led business incubator for micro, small enterprise and medium enterprises (MSME’s).
The FEE was launched by the Minister for Labour Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar at the FCEF hub in Suva yesterday.

Ms Kumar reiterated the government’s support for MSME growth in Fiji, particularly the public-private- partnership between FCEF, MDF, MITT and International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Ms Kumar highlighted that MSMEs form the backbone of the Fijian economy. They contribute over 18 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide employment for approximately 60 per cent of the Fijian labour force.

“MITT sees the FEE programme as a way to provide business mentoring and support for recipients of Government’s Young Entrepreneur- ship Scheme (YES).”
She encouraged the FEE participants to make full use of the opportunities that were available to them, adding that Government would support their efforts to grow and develop.

Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner, Anna Dorney said: “The Australian Government is proud to partner with the FCEF in introducing the FEE programme to provide tailored business skills training and mentoring for FCEF members.

Ms Dorney commended the Government’s commitment to inclusive economic growth through the sup- port of small and medium enter- prises.
FCEF chief executive officer, Nesbit Hazelman noted that FCEF has always recognised how vital it is to develop those in the MSME’s space.
He said when the opportunity arouse through the Australian government supported MD,FCEFwas more than happy to partner and develop the business accelerator.

MDF Fiji’s deputy country director, Malcolm Bossley said: “MDF is proud to be associated as a technical partner for the FCEF Fiji Enter- prise Engine (FEE).
He said this had brought together key stakeholders, including the MITT and the ILO to support MS- ME’s effectively grow their business. The ILO and MITT will pro- vide monetary support towards this initiative.

ILO helped established Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) and this support is to help drive future membership and build capacity of exist- ing members.
ILO director Dong Li said the sustainability of YEC was also critical to the success of the Enterprise Engine and MDF-FCEF partnership and that they were pleased to pro- vide technical and financial assistance to the Enterprise Engine and YEC.

The FEE is a nine-month customised MSME’s business incubator programme inclusive of 12-days classroom learning on key business subjects. As well as seven months of one-on-one mentoring, group activities and networking boosters designed to provide participants with business skills and follow-up support to effectively grow the businesses.

The MDF initially supported FCEF to roll-out this new service for members of the YEC and Women Entrepreneurs and Business Councils (WEBC).
The FEE programme will initially look to accommodate 15 MSMEs each and, based on the success and interest, may expand further years.

Background MDF
MDF is an Australian multi-country initiative operational in five countries in Asia Pacific: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, SriLanka and Pakistan.
MDF uses a market systems (MSD) approach to achieve long-term, last- ing growth, alleviate poverty and create sustainable jobs for poor women and men.
Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) is central to MDF’s work on the ground, and all interventions are dedicated to ensuring that its activities benefits women and girls. MDF’s first phase began in 2011. Phase II began in 2017 and will end in 2022.

MDF is funded by the Australian Government and is implemented by Palladium, in partnership with Swiss contact.
In Fiji, MDF focuses on developing a growing, diversified and inclusive tourism industry, while also improving the competitiveness of Fiji’s high value agriculture and urban industries.

MDF supported activities will increase income for 40,000 people.

Feedback: lusiana.tuimaisala@fijisun.

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