FCEF and MDF Launches Fiji Enterprise Engine
The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation has partnered with the Australian Government funded Market Development Facility to provide Micro, Small and Medium Fijians entrepreneurs a business incubator, known as the Fiji Enterprise Engine.
This programme is a nine month customized Micro, Small and Medium Business incubator program that includes 12 days of classroom learning on key business subjects and seven months of one-one-one mentoring, group activities and networking boosters.
Premila Kumar- Minister for Industry. Trade and Tourism, said “MSMEs form the backbone of the Fijian economy. They contribute over 18% of the GDP and provide employment for approximately 60% of the Fijian labour force. There are over 24,000 formally registered MSMEs in Fiji. And through various Government initiatives, we have been able to formalise a large number that otherwise would have remained informal.”
Kumar says since 2008, initiatives such as the Northern Development Programme, the Integrated Human Resources Development Programme and Micro and Small Business Grant have formalised over 40,900 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises from all parts of Fiji.
She said: “When we talk about MSMEs and their contribution. We ask, what does this mean? It means the hard work of these entrepreneurs is being recognised – they are counted as key contributors to the Fijian economy. MSMEs also help keep the money in our economy. So supporting MSMEs also means you’re supporting more local jobs, more Fijian goods and services, and more income to go around. It’s important we nurture our young entrepreneurs as we invest in the future of Fiji. We need to give our ambitious young people the support and resources they need to grow into productive and educated Fijians.
The Market Development Facility supported the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federaion in 2018 to set up a financially sustainable model for introducing a new business incubator service.
Then later that year, the Market Development Facility entered into a three year partnership with the Employers Federation to roll out the new service for its Young Entrepreneurs Council and Womens Entrepreneurs and Business Councils.
Kumar said: “Our young entrepreneurs are facing specific challenges. So let’s consider some of these challenges. They may not be experienced in business, technical skills may not be matured, and business networks and access to market information may be limited compared to established competitors. Young entrepreneurs can also face a lack of access to financial support and ample knowledge of Government policies and regulations.
But if we look at the positive side of young entrepreneurs, we can find tremendous enthusiasm and an eagerness to be successful. They have the advantage of time, physical and mental strength, fresh ideas, creativity and even the power of dreaming. Globally, it’s true that more enterprises are started by youths.”
The Fiji Enterprise Engine is comprised of 15 young men and women from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise sector.
The programme will run from March to November this year.