Milestone deal – Bid to level the playing field for small businesses

From left: South Pacifi c Business Development board chairperson Lorraine Seeto, Financial Management Counselors Alliance president Lagi Fisher and WEBC chairperson Eseta Nadakuitavuki sign the memorandum of understanding at the FCEF headquarters in Suva yesterday. Picture: MONIKA SINGH

A milestone partnership was formalized yesterday by organisations dedicated to elevate MSMEs (especially women-led) from the informal sector to the formal sector.

The South Pacific Business Development (SPBD), Women Entrepreneurs Business Council (WEBC) and the Financial Management Counselors Alliance (FMCA) signed the memorandum of understanding which would see WEBC and FMCA provide training and mentoring services to the members of the SPBD Fiji Bloom program participants.

WEBC chairperson Eseta Nadakuitavuki said their collaboration with the two organisations would help increase their reach to women in the remote and maritime zones.

Ms Nadakuitavuki said WEBC had been working with the pilot Fiji Bloom project since 2019 but this was the first time they had formalized the partnership.

As part of the MOU, she said WEBC members would provide training and mentoring to the women who were in the SPBD Fiji Bloom program for the next five years.

Meanwhile FMCA president Lagi Fisher welcomed the partnership and said it was important to lift the small businesses out of the informal sector and into the formal sector so that they are able to thrive.

FMCA is an association of local professional business development advisers established mainly to improve Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Agribusiness’ competitiveness, profitability and effectiveness through prudent advisory services.

SPBD board chairperson Lorraine Seeto said the SPBD accelerator pilot program in 2019 showed the importance to formalize and strengthen the partnership with WEBC.

“WEBC and FMCA have readily available trainers and coaches as well as other resources to assist SPBD further enhance the program,” she said.

Ms Seeto said as a judge for the pilot program she had seen first-hand how the women had progressed in their business and their self-improvement.

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