Business Link Pacific (BLP)Partners with Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce, To Profit Or Not To Profit, From The Commonwealth Games and Other News

Business Link Pacific (BLP) partners with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce (VCCI)

Business Link Pacific (BLP) is a New Zealand Government funded programme, currently operating in Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

BLP support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access to business advisory services, with the goal to increase profitability, ensure growth and continuity, and even allow for expansion despite challenges faced such as remoteness, small market size and poor infrastructure to name a few.

With SMEs playing a powerful role in the economic development, they have a strong demands for professional business advice, technical assistance as well as training and mentoring to unlock their growth potential and operate their businesses with confidence.

Director of Business Link Pacific Steve Knapp says SMEs are busy running their businesses and often do not know what advisory services they need or are available for them.

According to Knapp “This programme aims to help SMEs grow while at the same time empowering and up skilling business advisory service providers (BASP)”

“SMEs may also lack the financial means to access the services needed to help their business grow,” he pointed out.

“We consider specific business needs and identify the best local service providers. This means SMEs can access quality local business advisory services, while BASP can be connected to new clients.  We provide subsidies for businesses to access the new services and we will also ensure the services offered are of the best quality and are affordable” Knapp re-iterated.

“Realising there is vast amount of experience, knowledge and skills from service providers already available in Vanuatu which can be developed and matched with businesses, we are here to offer solutions to business services development,” Knapp says.

Business Link Pacific under the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce (VCCI) Business Development Support Department introduces Kesha Licht as the new Business Support Service Specialist.

Kesha is currently conducting a survey of tourism related businesses in Vanuatu, to assess their needs for business advisory services, diagnose those issues and initiate referrals to  appropriate local BASP known as the ‘’Triage programme”.

The Triage Programme helps SMEs to grow their businesses, improve their operations and access needed technology through experienced local advisors, technical experts and business professionals throughout Vanuatu.

BLP programme has three key features: a Diagnostic and Referral Service, Subsidiary Scheme, and a Quality Assurance System.

Please contact Kesha for more information on the Triage Programme or to access business support and the BLP Subsidy Scheme.

For any interested Business and Advisory Service Providers (BASP) who wish to participate in the Triage programme, market services to SMEs and partner with BLP for potential client subsidies, please contact the VCCI office.

Any local BASP is eligible to apply. No restrictions.

You can contact Kesha Licht, Business Development Support Specialist, Training and Business Development Unit, Tel 27543 Ext 19, Mobile +678 5555347, Email address [email protected]

More so, if you are a business advisory service provider in the Pacific keen to expand your offer, service or trial new services with new or existing clients or if you are one of the small and medium enterprises SME operating in the Pacific who want to access business advisory services, get in touch with Business Link Pacific, Email [email protected] or phone +64 21 209 3578 or +64 22 5599647

To Profit Or Not To Profit, From The Commonwealth Games

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has been advised that the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI), has engaged a GREAT OPPORTUNITY initiative, “piggy bagging” off the Commonwealth Games platform, to engage in networking. This is just too good to be ignored. See details below:

Project: A Pacific focused Mission to the Gold Coast to attend the Pacific Networking component of the Commonwealth Games

Lead Agencies: The Pacific Chairs Organisation Auckland in conjunction with Pacific Cooperation Foundation and Pacific Trade & Invest Auckland

Stakeholders: Austrade NZ, Queensland Govt- Dept Tourism. Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, NZ Olympic Committee, Pacific Trade & Invest Sydney, Australia Pacific Business Council

Attendees: Members and Stakeholders of Pacific Island Business Councils representing Commonwealth Countries, Representatives or Business Councils and private Sector from Pacific Island Commonwealth Member Countries.

Venue: QT Gold Coast Hotel, ANZ New Zealand House base for all NZ Supporters, VIP’s and Guests of the games

Timing: Thursday 12 April Arrival- Monday 16th April 2018 Departure (4 Nights)

Travel: Own arrangements for Flights, Taxes and Transfers or through NZ Olympic Travel who will provide a full package.

Package: Based upon attending Gold Coast Events, Room at NZ House for 4 Nights including Buffet Breakfast for two, attendance Mission Networking Event on Thursday, and Tickets for two at Commonwealth Games Sevens Events, Booking Fee and Assistance at QT

Business Events:

•           12 April: Brisbane / Queensland Agri Business (Full Day) / Investors

•           13 April: Gold Coast / Major Event Capability Business Forum (11.00am – 3 pm) / Business seeking to participate in Major Events

•           14 April: Gold Coast / Partnering the Pacific (7am-9am) / PIC and Commonwealth Business


We recommend people who wish to attend Brisbane event and make their own arrangements.  

Pro Forma Program:

Thurs 12 April:

•           Own Travel arrangements

•           Arrival and Check in QT Gold Coast Hotel

•           Evening Mission Function @ QT  

Friday 13 April:

•           Attend Major Event Capability Forum 11.00 am to 3pm

•           Pacific Networking Event -TBC

Sat 14 April:

•           Attend Pacific Partnering Breakfast 7am -9am

•           Rugby Sevens Men’s and Women’s Preliminaries

Sun 15 April:  

•           Attend Semis & Final of M & W Sevens 9.30 am – 4-30pm

Mon 16 April:

•           Departure own arrangements

Cost of Package (Heads up): $4,000

Interested participants can contact the VCCI via email on [email protected] or [email protected] or

Sakura Aoki-Danielson Level 3, 5 Short Street Newmarket Auckland 1149 New Zealand Ph       : +64 9 529 5165 Fx        : +64 9 523 1284

E          :   [email protected]

W        :

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand is the economic development agency of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, engaged in trade and investment promotion in Pacific Island Forum countries including Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, with offices in New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan and Switzerland.

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs Staff and Recruitment

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 staff and recruitment.

Some sole traders are happy to remain working for themselves but many think about recruiting staff and building small teams.

The opportunities in growing your team are many:

  • More heads are better than one.You can brainstorm ideas, share your thoughts and benefit from different approaches.
  • Working with other people can be fun and is less isolating.
  • Tasks can be shared, especially the more mundane or boring ones.
  • You may be able to get some time off while others run the business!
  • Having a small team could free you up to focus on other business activities like networking or planning that otherwise you might not have time for.
  • You may be able to develop future staff or even the future owner or manager of your business.
  • Having different staff can help attract different customers.Think about having gender, culture and age mixes.
  • As a business owner you are actively contributing to the development of your local economy.
  • Other staff will come with other skills and experiences.
  • With every paid of hands you employ you get a free brain – use it!

So, with all these opportunities it is interesting that many SME owners find the challenges of employing other people to be really daunting and difficult.

Employing others is a great responsibility and should not be entered into lightly.  Getting the right people will take time and can be frustrating.  Recruiting people is a skill – if you are not sure of how to do it then look for help from your local Chamber of Commerce or business organisation.  In a future article I will focus on the specific issues of employing family and friends which bring another set of opportunities and challenges!

If you employ people, there are some key things you must do, following recruitment:

Make sure they go through an effective induction process and are given a clear job description that they understand!

Develop a training plan with each staff member and invest in their development.

Help your staff set personal goals as well as work ones.  These might include family goals. Review progress regularly, celebrate achievements and help people learn from their mistakes.

Listen to your people and take a genuine interest in them and their ideas – we are all capable of thinking and we all have thoughts about our workplaces even if we don’t always voice them.

Make the working environment interesting, safe and comfortable.

Take an interest in your people and their families – the more you care abut them, the more they will care about your business and the more productive they will be.

Trust your staff – if you don’t trust them then don’t employ them!

If you are building a team try for diversity – people from different backgrounds, ages, gender, experiences, cultures all contribute to an interesting team experience.

Being a successful employer takes effort and sometimes the match will not work for the employer or the employee.  It will take time but the rewards are many and significant.  Your business could grow more quickly than if you are on your own; you will be providing an income for others; you might be offering opportunities to people in your community or family; if you employ young people you are helping to build the talent of the future.

If you need help with recruitment or employing people or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch.  Happy teams in 2018!!

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.

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