Brainstorm the Future of the Chamber of Commerce 12 April 2018, VCCI AGM 2018 on 30 April and Other News.


Brainstorm the Future of the Chamber of Commerce 12 April 2018

Businesses interested in the future of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry are invited to attend the Brainstorm Meeting of VCCI on Thursday 12 April 2018 at 11am at VCCI Conference Room.

Any business holding a valid Business License is automatically a member of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

You will join the VCCI Councillors in contributing some ideas for discussion about the way forward for the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the coming years.

For more information or to confirm your attendance, please can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or phone tel 27543, mob 7123967.


VCCI AGM 2018 on 30 April

The Annual General Meeting 2018 of the Port Vila Chamber of Commerce and Industry is scheduled to be held on Monday 30 April 2018 at 5pm in the Conference Room of the Chamber of Commerce. The Agenda includes Approval of Minutes of AGM 2017, Annual Report Year 2017, Financial Statements for the Year Ended 2017, Auditors Report, Election of Council Members and Major issues affecting Businesses: future of VCCI and update on Income Tax.

There are vacant sector representations on VCCI Council in 2018 for candidacy including Large Commerce, Building Construction, Land Transport, Air Transport, Public Utilities.

The sector candidates to retire and eligible for re-election are Large Commerce, Mr Scott Young; Building Construction, Mr James Roy Matariki; Land Transport, Mr Donald Massing Satungia; Air Transport, Mr Jason Rakau; and Public Utilities, Vacant.

All business Licence Holders are invited to attend. Business Licence Holders are automatically members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Light refreshments will be served after the Meeting. To confirm your attendance, contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or call tel 27543, mob 7123967.


Three Vanuatu companies at PTI’s Pasifika Business Market

Vanuatu’s economic growth in recent years is driven largely by tourism and construction, according to the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

“Business has rebounded from the effects of Cyclone Pam of 2015 and there are certainly opportunities for New Zealand businesses to participate through investment and trading including agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport and communication,” says Astrid Boulekone, VCCI General Manager.

VCCI led a delegation of three Vanuatu companies, Weave Association, Tanna Coffee Development, and Kava House, to the Pasifika Business Market at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland from 24 to 25 March 2018.

The event is an initiative of Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand as part of its Path to Market programme that helps build capacity of Pacific Island exporters to find distributors and buyers for their products in New Zealand.

“It is a good opportunity for Vanuatu businesses to learn to promote, showcase, and sell their products overseas in New Zealand. It provides a learning experience, exposure and a market testing of their products by clients and visitors who will taste product samples and provide feedback during the event,” Ms Boulekone said.

Vanuatu offers an environment with rich volcanic lands, which have enabled the production of quality food products like kava, coffee, virgin coconut oil (VCO), quality handicrafts, health and beauty products and much more.

“Investment in the growth sectors of agriculture, value added manufacturing and tourism makes Vanuatu a unique and authentic destination for investors.

“Recent investments in infrastructure developments on Vanuatu’s major wharfs, upgrade on international airports, roads and telecommunications will broaden the reach of business markets and sources and give confidence to investors that Vanuatu is open for business,” she added.

Added to all this, a newly operational privately developed fibre-optic cable and the associated industry zone creates new opportunities in the ICT and related sectors.

“At the Pasifika Business Market, Vanuatu businesses will evaluate their current achievements against the need to improve their products to meet client taste, needs and NZ market requirements.

“PTI’s efforts on creating such opportunities for the Path to Market participants have been great. The VCCI strongly believes in building effective business relationships between NZ and Vanuatu to support investment and economic growth in Vanuatu. In facilitating participation of Vanuatu businesses in this event is a great way to further develop these connections,” Ms Boulekone said.

PTI NZ partnered with VCCI as the lead Economic Development Agency (EDA) in Vanuatu to host Path to Market workshops in the capital Port Vila last year.

For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at [email protected]

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – being well organised

A series of practical articles by Chris Elphick, Breadfruit Consulting.

During this series I am looking at a number of issues relevant to all SMEs and identify both the opportunities and challenges associated with each issue.  Topics to be covered include planning; staff and recruitment; customers and service; marketing; competition; new products and services; being well organised; collaborating with others; understanding and analysing risk; managing the money; going into business with family or friends; grants, loans and investment; expansion and growth; technology and exporting.

Today my focus is on the need to be well organised.

Running an effective small business requires high levels of personal and business organisation. The smaller the business the more organised we need to be as we can’t afford to make mistakes or waste resources or lose customers.  This immediately presents many challenges!

Time management is our key challenge – ‘Pacific’ time may be OK for some of us but not for everyone and certainly not for customers from overseas who come with a different mindset about time. If we miss appointments or arrive late we give out the impression of being disorganised – this may or may not be true, but the perception is the key issue.  If a potential customer sees you as disorganised, they may doubt the quality of your products or services or your ability to deliver on promises.

Time is a valuable resource and we all have the same amount – we can’t keep it, put it in the bank for later or get it back once it has gone!  Effectively managing our time requires us to plan ahead, set priorities and take action.  I know it is not the most exciting of topics but the opportunity in manging our time well is that we suddenly realise how time rich we are and how much we can do with our lives.

Other aspects of good organisation include how our business premises look; are they tidy or full of stuff that looks disorganised and probably never ever gets used anyway.  How much space are we wasting just keeping stuff?!

How presentable are we and our staff?  Do we look as though we have really prepared for the business day or just got out of bed?

Our office or administrative systems need to be well organised – if they are not they will be a source of time wasting when we can’t find things.  Is the technology we use fit for purpose?  Time will be wasted if it is too simple and not doing the job we want it to do or over complicated and hard to use.

We need to spend time making sure that our staff are well organised – this starts with them being very clear of their role and then, as business owners, we need to make sure they are properly trained and supported.  Make sure they understand the products and services they are selling and can talk confidently about them.  There is nothing that turns a customer off quicker than approaching a member of staff with a question, only to be met with ‘I don’t know’; ‘no’; the boss is not here!!

Confidence sells, and organised businesses look like confident businesses.  First impressions do matter – what happens when a customer walks into your business for the first time could make the difference between whether they stay or go to your competitor.

Coming into a business and seeing staff on their mobile phones or busy doing other things does not help the customer have confidence in you.  Organise your workplace so someone will always be there to greet customers and make them feel welcome.

Finally, poor personal organisation is a major cause of loss of business which leads to high levels of stress.  Take time to organise yourself, your team, your systems and processes, your premises, your vehicles, your products and services.  This investment will pay dividends and lead to you enjoying your time rich life!  It will also allow you to spend more time on other aspects of your life such as your family & community or your own health or simply relaxing!!

If you need help with being well organised or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch.

Chris Elphick is Partner in Breadfruit Consulting, formerly Learnfast Pacific, supporting the development of a range of businesses and organisations in Melanesia and other parts of the Pacific.  He is an experienced trainer, coach and business mentor and has years of experience of working with Small & Medium Enterprises.  He and his partner Hazel Kirkham live in Vanuatu.

Breadfruit Consulting have partnered with Fiji Entrepreneur to develop mentoring services for new and young entrepreneurs.

If you have an issue or query related to this article, please contact Chris at [email protected] or text to +6785500556