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Missions to serve, VCCI Representation on VNPF Board Mr David Russet, Request For Waste Management Grace Period To End In June 2019 and Other News.

 

Missions to serve

 

If you’re in the private sector trading, or looking to trade across the region, there are six New Zealand-based business councils you should consider being involved in.

They are focused on investment and advocacy for their respective island markets. It has been a busy time for all councils, with the French NZ Chamber of Commerce (representing French Polynesia) hosting a network function on the eve of the All Blacks-France test at Eden park.

The NZ Samoan Trade & Investment Commission similarly hosted a networking event to celebrate Samoan Independence Day.

The NZ Pacific Business Council hosted a member event with the visiting Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Hon. Rick Houenipwela.

On June 25 the NZ Fiji Business Council is leading a business mission to Fiji, which will coincide with the annual conference between the NZ Fiji and the Fiji NZ Business Councils.

The NZ Tonga Business Council has plans for a Business Mission in August. The NZ Tonga Business Council has an After 5 networking event planned for 26 July at NIWA, 41 Market Place on the Viaduct Harbour as well as a Business Mission later this year.

The NZ PNG Business Council also has a networking event planned for next month as well as a Business Mission later this year.

Involvement in these councils is beneficial and, like anything in life, “You get out of it what you put in” said Craig Strong, Pacific Cooperation Foundation CEO.

For information on council membership contact [email protected]

The Consul General, Mackenzie Kalotiti, in Auckland New Zealand, has asked the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry for assistance with identifying businesses that export to or trade goods and services with New Zealand.

There is a plan to establish a NZ Vanuatu Business Council with Pacific Cooperation Foundation in NZ.  The VCCI is seeking your assistance.

If your business fits under this category, and you are happy to, we would be grateful if you could email your business name, contact name and email addresses of businesses in Vanuatu, to [email protected], so that the Consul General may send you an invite to be part of the NZ Vanuatu Business Council once it is established

 

VCCI News

VCCI Representation on VNPF Board Mr David Russet.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Council has unanimously endorsed David Russet, Agriculture Councillor and First Vice President of VCCI, to represent VCCI and the farmers in the VNPF Board at its last Council Meeting of 14 June 2018

 

Request For Waste Management Grace Period To End In June 2019

The Waste Management Act and Regulations, banning single use plastic bags, starts its enforcement on 1 July 2018. The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry acknowledges that it is to safeguard the environment. However there is a serious issue that is existent in which the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry would like to raise.

The retail and wholesale sector currently has a large quantity of plastic bags still in stock. This is due to quantities being ordered in bulk, which may be up to a year’s usage. Custom duty and other import taxes have been paid for these plastic bag stocks. The dumping of plastic bags appears not to be a favourable option. A period of six months before the effective date of the plastic ban is also too short for the plastics in stock to be used up.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry asks that the Government authorise a grace period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 to allow the domestic stock of plastic bags ordered before 1 February 2018 to be used up. If the Government cannot amend the 1 July 2018 date, then would the Government provide a reimbursement on the import duty and taxes paid for the stock ordered before 1 February 2018 and provide the conditions on how the retailers and wholesalers can destroy unused stock?

The Government can consider declaring a stop to any imports of plastic bags, straws and boxes as per Waste Management Act and Regulations from 1 July 2018.

VCCI requests that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Department consider our urgent request and approve the amendment of the Waste Management Act and Regulations accordingly.

 

Can beautiful accounting software be a game changer for growing businesses in Vanuatu?

 

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Photo: AJC/Groovy Banana

 

One year free subscription to Xero accounting software for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Growing businesses are vital to a thriving Pacific economy. Business Link Pacific is enabling SMEs to get their financial books on track with an innovative accounting assistance partnership.

Business Link Pacific and the accounting and financial service providers in Vanuatu, Barrett and Partners, AJC, and vSolutions are assisting eligible growing enterprises with a one-year free subscription to Xero accounting software.

“Small and medium enterprises can positively transform their societies by creating jobs and improving people’s wellbeing,” said Steve Knapp, Business Link Pacific, Activity Director.

“To grow and become more profitable, these businesses need the best tools they can get, such as Xero,” he said.

Lindsay Barrett from Barrett and Partners believes Business Link Pacific is removing a perceived cost barrier to accessing professional business advice and tools.

“Now it is the business advisers’ opportunity to demonstrate the value we add,” he said.

Accessing Xero is a step forward in the right direction. Martin St-Hilaire from AJC believes that Xero is simply the best accounting and reporting tool available nowadays. It is easy to use, yet powerful and can become the core system behind every small and medium-sized business.

“It is a beautiful accounting cloud-based software that helps you love accounting and business management,” Martin said.

“It is possible to learn how to use it completely online and for free. This is the democratisation of a really useful and powerful tool that was only accessible in the past to big companies that were investing large amounts of money in their financial management systems,” he said.

Enthusiasm for accounting and business management is catching on with growing businesses in Vanuatu as they realise the benefits that outsourced business services bring to their operations.

Trust and transparency are improved by robust accounting systems such as Xero, helping businesses at multiple levels. From paying and receiving bills on time, accessing finance, protecting information from natural disasters and fraud, minimising risks and increasing efficiency – to minimising the workload of business-owners and staff.

“Many small business owners spend their weekends and evenings trying to keep up with the never-ending administrative tasks that come with running a successful business,” said Brendan Toner, Managing Director vSolutions Limited.

“Tools such as Xero have been developed to help make those administrative tasks easier and free up time to focus on more important things – such as spending time with your family or grabbing a shell of kava after work,” he said.

These benefits are welcome news for the people behind the Xero software in the Pacific.

“Xero is a game changer for small business,” said Craig Hudson, Managing Director Xero NZ.

“The size of the small business market is second only to that of individual consumers, and it drives the economies of the Pacific. We are pleased that Xero can help small and medium enterprises and the growing business service providers in Vanuatu and across the Pacific,” he said.

Vibrant, sustainable and profitable businesses help to ensure the economic stability of Pacific countries such as Vanuatu and enable younger generations to access jobs and educational opportunities necessary to reach their goals.

“Small and medium enterprises are key in the development of the country, and helping them is helping economic development at the grass roots to increase their potential, leading to better education, improved health and quality of life—helping Vanuatu remain ‘the happiest place on Earth’” said Martin St-Hilaire, from AJC.

Business Link Pacific, a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded program, works in Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa to support business advisory service providers and empower small business to access relevant tools, develop and grow.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), supported by Business Link Pacific, has established a new service assisting small and medium enterprises to understand their needs and access professional advice. Now growing businesses in Vanuatu can access affordable and tailored support via the Business Link Pacific Subsidy Scheme.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Vanuatu interested in accessing the Xero 12 months subscription promotion should contact the above service providers or visit Kesha Licht at VCCI for a free business diagnostic.

The new Business Services Office

Email address – [email protected]

Landline – 27543 Ext 19

Mobile – (678) 5555347

 

 

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – Today’s focus is on grants, loans and Investments

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 grants, loans and investments.

The first challenge is to adjust our mind-set that says, ‘I can’t do anything without money’.  Access to funds comes quite a way behind passion, commitment, creativity, problem solving, good ideas and determination.  When all these attributes are in place then maybe it is time to look for funds if we need them.

All over the Pacific there are many schemes encouraging people to take out micro loans or to leave the ranks of the ‘unbanked’! Banks have special offers aimed at SMEs as long as we can produce the collateral to support the loan.  There are government supported schemes like the YES programme in Fiji which will make limited funds available provided certain criteria are met.  There are various programmes run by donors usually focused on specific sectors like tourism or issue based like climate change.  There are organisations like Pacific Trade and Invest who specialise in helping Pacific businesses access export markets and overseas investors.  Some people will borrow from friends or family.

Even with all these schemes it is still hard for many small businesses to access them, especially for those a long way from the urban centres.

Chasing the money is not a sound or sustainable business strategy and I don’t recommend it, no matter how attractive the offer may sound.  Everything comes with strings attached – make sure you understand what they are and that you are prepared to accept them.

Many entrepreneurs have started very successful businesses with no external finance and have grown their businesses slowly and debt free.  The need to borrow money needs to come from some robust and accurate planning where all other avenues have been exhausted and the consequences of borrowing or seeking investment are well understood.  Of course, in some cases a well-planned injection of cash will do wonders for the business and help it grow.

Unfortunately, I have seen too many SMEs take out what appears to be very small loans without knowing the interest rates or how they will repay or what they really want the money for.  I have even seen businesses borrow to repay earlier loans! If you have limited financial knowledge then seek help from someone who is independent – a mentor or coach or advisor.  Ask your local Chamber of Commerce or business association.  Research everything that is available before deciding on one particular financial product.

If your business is interesting it may attract the attention of investors – don’t be flattered into saying yes!!  No-one will invest in your business without wanting something back – a return on their investment.  Make sure you know exactly what this is before making a decision.  How much control will you need to give up in order to get an injection of capital and is it worth it?

Remember, if an offer looks too good to be true then it probably is!!

Finally, desperation is not a good reason to go into debt!  Explore every other avenue first.  Shop around to see what the best deals are and then seek help to make sure you can afford the deal and that it is the right one for you at this time.   Spend time developing your own financial literacy – your Chamber of Commerce or business association will be able to tell you what courses are being run and where.  The more you know and understand the more likely you are to make the right decision and the more you will feel empowered.

Focus on creating a solid business strategy first and then you can explore the help you might need to turn the strategy into action and achievable goals.

If you need help with understanding or analysing available grants, loans and investment 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 

Invitation to attend Global Employers Climate action Forum 25 July 2018 in Suva, Fiji, Seminar on China Economic Globalization and Other News.

 

Invitation to attend Global Employers Climate Action Forum 25 July 2018 in Suva, Fiji

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) was handed the Presidency of the Marrakech Business Action for Climate (MBA 4 Climate) during COP23 in Bonn Germany in 2017.

MBA 4 Climate in a network of Global Employers’ Association who are committed to accelerating climate action for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The network aims to create synergy and permanent exchanges between the private sector with the objective of achieving commitments to:

  • Partner with governments and all other actors in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and
  • Promote the emergence of a new low-carbon economy that combats Climate Change (CC) while creating new jobs and advancing shared economic prosperity.

Through this global partnership and network, FCEF is hosting a one day Global Employers Climate Action Forum on 25 July 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji.

Participants from international and regional organisations are invited to attend and share lessons learned and experiences on their active commitment in acceleration climate action to support the Paris Agreement and the operationalization of the “Fiji Declaration” which was endorsed in Bonn, Germany.

The theme of the Global Employers Forum is “Fiji Declaration: Resilient Businesses and Communities” and will be deliberated under the following topics:

  • Session 1:  Scaling up Private Sector Climate Finance
  • Session 2:  Promoting climate insurance and building resilient businesses
  • Session 3:  Driving a Green/Blue Economy

Attendance and participation in this Forum is free by invitation only.  However all costs related to travel, accommodation, meals and incidentals will be borne by the individual or organisation invited to attend. To register, you will need to complete and return the registration Form by email to [email protected] or [email protected]

Registrations will close on 20 June 2018.

You may download the Registration Form using this link: : GECF Registration Form

More information about the Global Employers Climate Action Forum, visas and getting around in Fiji can be accessed using this link: Information Paper

For further questions/queries, and ask for the registration form, you may contact the following personnel Mr Waisea Vosa, email [email protected] or [email protected], ph; (+679) 3313188 or (+679) 9995903

 

Seminar on China Economic Globalization and made in China for Developing Countries – September October 2018

Vanuatu is so fortunate to be part of a seminar being organised by the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC). The Chinese government aims to enhance mutual understanding, deepen friendship, and establish platforms for promoting communication and cooperation among developing countries.

This seminar will explain how the Chinese financial system works and how government and state enterprises work. Building on this, you will gain an understand on how to deal with them and how to shake the money tree, so to speak, whether it be for your private business or government financial assistance.

This seminar includes presentations and field trips.  All presentations are given by government official or experts, covering topics such as “General Review of China”, “China’s opening-up & Economic Development”, “ The Governing Ideas and Style of China’s New Leadership” “Functions of CCPIT and Establishment of Trade Promotion System in China”, Sustainable Development of Chinese economy & Latest Economic Development Strategy”, Interpretation of Made in China 2025, “The trend of Economic Globalization”, “Cross Border E-commerce in China” and so on.

Participants will visit Ningbo and Shaoxing of Zhejiang Province and Kunming of Yunnan Province where they will meet with local government officials, visit enterprises and exchange ideas with them so that they can get a better understanding of China’s economic development,  and at the same time seek opportunities for more cooperation.

All expenses are covered (100%) through the Embassy of China, and it is a 3 weeks seminar.

For those of you who may wish to attend this seminar, please submit your name before 11 July 2018. This is the new deadline to submit your name to VCCI.

Please click here to view and download the followings:-

1. Project Description 

2. Brief Introduction on 2018 training in China 

For more information on the project description of this seminar and brief introduction on 2018 Training in China, please contact VCCI Office 27543 or email [email protected]

 

Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council Elects New Committee

Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council (VYEC) was established on the 11th of November 2016. Since VYEC’s establishment, the council had its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 24th of May 2018 to accept and approve the 2017 Annual Report, and also for the adoption of VYEC constitution by the members. The Election of the Executive Committee is a follow on agenda from the AGM.

VYEC has officially elected its new Executive Committee on the 29th of May 2018. The new committee was elected through a fair representation of members who casted their votes.  The election took place at the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

The Council is now headed by Mr. Mathias Boe as President, Ms. Yvonne Leo Taiki as Vice President, Ms. Agnes Samuel as Secretary, Mr. Ignace Meltenoven as Vice- Secretary, Ms. Rutha Timothy as Treasurer, Mr. Stanley Fred as Vice Treasurer and Mr. Blake Napwatt and Mr. Jack Ulas as Members.

VYEC aims to represent the right and interest of the young entrepreneurs in Vanuatu. The outgoing executive lead by Mr. Maxwell Nasak has done a lot of good work whereby the newly elected council highly appreciated. The 2017 – 2020 strategic plan of VYEC clearly outlines the goals and tasks that the council together with its members and respective stakeholders must work together and ensure they are achieved.

The new Executive Committee will soon meet to discuss detailed work plan to ensure strategic goals are achieved.  VYEC now appeals too all young entrepreneurs interested to join, please contact Mob: +678 5329377 or Email: [email protected] for more information on VYEC and registration.
vyec-concil-elects-new-committee

Above Picture:- Vanuatu Young Entrepreneurs Council – New Elected Committees for 2018

 

Let food be thy medicine

Pacific Cooperation Foundation News 8 Jun 2018

Having lived in Vanuatu for more than three decades, Kiwi expat Cornelia Wyllie noticed what she calls ‘the feast and famine seasons’. As a farmer, and fierce advocate of organic self-sufficiency, Cornelia established her agribusiness Vanuatu Direct to reduce waste, ensure food security and improve the livelihoods of Ni Vanuatu farmers.

Cornelia has built on the success of Vanuatu Direct through its branch-company Fine Foods Ltd, founded in 2016. Sustaining two food processing companies on an island nation consisting of more than 80 small islands is a remarkable feat. Cornelia herself remains modest.

“It’s not about me, but what Fine Foods stands for. It proudly adopts Hippocrates’ statement: ‘Let food be thy medicine’.

“As the CEO, I bring together and partner with growers within Vanuatu. My team share the same passion of ensuring the foods we create improves health.”

Cornelia calls Vanuatu the ‘nutraceutical capital of the South Pacific’. People may not be familiar with the term ‘nutraceutical’ but many will have seen countless dietary supplements readily available in chemists and supermarkets, all of which claim to be nutraceutical.

“Fine Foods has achieved what the food processing world considers the holy grail – a clean label. No chemicals, gums or guars, nothing artificial is added.”

It has five exportable food products listed on its website www.finefoods.vu ·

Vanu’kai – rare exotic multiflora honey ·

Natur’kai – bites of authentic islands foods ·

Spicy’kai Cannibal sauce ·

“F” Juice ·

Lime juice

Due to its growing popularity with customers in New Zealand and Australia, Fine Foods is working on more products.

“For 2018 we’ve got ready-to-eat sea cucumbers, long-life kava, taro torpedoes, chestnuts and another juice. All high-end, all with a high nutraceutical value, all for a market that can’t get enough!”

let-food-be-thy-medicine

Picture showing CEO of Fine Foods Ltd introducing food be thy medicine

Businesses to the National Environment Week Exhibition, New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council and Other News

 

Businesses to the National Environment Week Exhibition

The Vanuatu Environmental Science Society and No Plastik Bag Plis have the pleasure of inviting any interested businesses to the opening of National Environment Week Exhibition at Espace Alliance Française this week.

This is an open invitation to any interested, who may wish to participate on World Environment Day and focus on the UN World Environment Day with the 2018 Theme as “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

During this exhibition there will also be general information of the problems with plastic in the environment and what people can do to reduce the impact, a large part of this exhibition will be dedicated to asking people to make a pledge on plastic.

The Vanuatu Environmental Science Society and No Plastik Bag Plis, have come up with some suggestions for people to sign up Plastics Pledge as individuals, company, department or organisation or as a community group or school.

There will be an opportunity during the opening or any time whilst the exhibition is open to sign up to a Plastic pledge should any one wish to do so.

This National Environment Week Exhibition opening will be held today on Monday 4th June 2018 at 5pm at Espace Alliance Française

The responsible Departments also encourage everybody to collect data during a clean-up on June 2018 and again in September 2018. Data on litter helps to see what items are causing the biggest problem in the environment. Last year’s data on litter clean ups helped shape the policy and informed the Government on what items to include in the first round of the plastic ban. The ban on plastic bags, plastic straws and polystyrene takeaway boxes comes into effect on 1st July 2018. So this year it is particularly important to gather as much data from clean ups in as many different places as possible. It would be really useful to see the data from June 2018 – before the ban and from September 2018 – 2 months after the ban, to see how effective the ban is at stopping these plastic items getting into our environment. Whether or not you are able to come to the exhibition, if you could organize a cleanup, no matter how small, and send us the completed data sheets, you will be helping us to “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

For more information on Environment Week Exhibition please email Vanuatu Environmental Science Society at:  [email protected]

 

New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has been advised that the Consulate General of the Republic of Vanuatu in Auckland, New Zealand, led by the Consul General Mr McKenzie Kalotiti, have initiated some discussions with the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) to explore if there is an interest in setting up a New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council. The New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council will aim to link importers and exporters of goods and services to and from Vanuatu. They are looking for Vanuatu businesses which would fall in this category and would assist in furthering this idea. Similar groupings have been established for other Pacific Islands Countries resulting in some positive impacts.

If you, businessmen and business women, are interested to learn more about this initiative of creating the New Zealand Vanuatu Business Council, you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or by phone on +678 27543 or mobile +678 7123967.

 

Vanuatu National Provident Fund Customer Service Training 

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce through its Business Training and BDS Unit has just spent two weeks delivering competency based customer service training to the Vanuatu National Provident Fund staff members.

In accordance to the VNPF Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022, there has been a very strong emphasis on customer service at the organization. VNPF’s customers are not just the members but also the users of VNPF service through all means.

VNPF has undertaken a detailed training needs assessment and realized that customer service is of high importance.

There were a total of 33 participants for this training. The training was dispersed into two groups, the first group commenced on the 14th and ended on the 17th of May and the second group started on the 21st and ended on the 24th of May 2018. All participants have received their statement of completion right after they have completed their training.

The training was very interactive and many topics were discussed. Some of the key topics discussed were to understand VNPF, Importance of personality in the workplace, understanding your external customers and your internal customers and their importance in the customer service in VNPF as a member institution, diagnostic of staff personal customer service skills, and also deeper understanding of the current customer service situation at VNPF and Identifying ways on how loop holes in their current customer service skills can be improved.

Positive feedbacks were provided by the participants at the end of the training. All participants left the training satisfied with their Statement of Completion Award and high mentality to enforce improvement in their customer service skills within different work divisions in VNPF.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry has a very proactive Training Business Development Services Unit that is always available to help business houses in terms of trainings in all areas. Please feel free to contact the office by phone on +678 27543/ 7123967 or email [email protected]

You can also access information on Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) website at www.vcci.com

 

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Group 1 :  Organizing Customers Service to meet VNPF demand training

 

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Group 1 :  Organizing Customers Service to meet VNPF demand training

 

Inaugural Meeting of the Pacific Resilience Partnership Taskforce

30/5/18United in their commitment to an integrated and inclusive approach for resilient development in the Pacific, representatives of government, civil society, private sector, regional agencies, and development partners met for the first-time last week as the Pacific Resilience Partnership Taskforce.

The Partnership Taskforce was established to provide an all-stakeholder approach to climate change and disaster risk management in the region and provide an innovative platform to drive, enhance and promote resilient development.

“The Pacific Resilience Partnership was created by Pacific leaders to implement the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific,” said Taskforce Chair Mr. Engel Raygadas of French Polynesia.

“Because of climate and disaster issues we have to carefully develop in a smart way, in a sustainable way. We have to care for our islands and our oceans to adapt to the reality of climate change. Pacific leaders want to see more collaboration and coherence around how we do this and they believe that this Partnership can help and is necessary.”

The Partnership Taskforce agreed to commit and advocate an all-stakeholder approach to drive behavioural change and embrace inclusivity and innovation into resilient development.

One of the central discussion points among Taskforce members focussed on the establishment of criteria to help align initiatives under the approach in the Framework, and to foster strong partnerships.

When it was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2016, the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific put the region at the forefront of global efforts towards climate change and disaster risk management due to it being the first regionally integrated framework to address both a changing climate and increased disaster events.

To ensure inclusive participation of a range of key stakeholders, the Taskforce comprises fifteen members, with five representing Pacific countries and territories, five for civil society and private sector, and five for regional organisations and development partners.

The current members are: Cook Islands (for Polynesia), Solomon Islands (for Melanesia), French Polynesia (for Pacific Territories), Australia (for Australia/NZ), Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations, Pacific Disability Forum, & the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (for civil society), South Pacific Engineering Association, Pacific Business Resilience Network (for private sector), the European Union, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and the University of the South Pacific (for regional organisations and development partners). It is supported in its work by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Community, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Media inquiries Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat: [email protected]

Pacific Community (SPC): [email protected]

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme: [email protected]

IFRC: Hanna Butler: [email protected]

 

Women Empowerment Funding Opportunity for Entities, Business Advice from Business Link Pacific at VCCI and Other News.

Women Empowerment Funding Opportunity for Entities

USAID in Washington has announced a funding opportunity for Women’s Economic Empowerment for entities registered in the country they intend to work in (such as NGO, faith-based org, foundation, cooperative, businesses, civic).

A brief summary:

  • A call to submit “Concept Papers focused on providing tailored business advisory services for business women in developing countries by volunteer business women”
  • Subject to funding availability, USAID/GenDev intends allocate up to US$500,000 to fund one or more initiatives, with each initiative receiving funding of up to US$250,000.
  • Eligible are only duly registered entities in the country or entities working with duly registered entities in the country
  • Deadline for submission of the concept paper is June 14th 2018

A. Questions related to this specific Addendum:

After a prospective applicant has reviewed the relevant USAID/GenDev strategy and other publicly available information related to the VISP APS, prospective applicants may submit questions prior to submitting the Concept Paper to [email protected]

For additional information regarding guidelines and procedures to submit a concept paper, please refer to the VISP APS which can be found at the following website: https://www.usaid.gov/visp

 B. Questions regarding the substance and terms of the VISP APS should be directed to

Arjun Tasker through [email protected]

Or contact VCCI by email [email protected] to provide you with more information.

 

Business Advice from Business Link Pacific at VCCI

Business Link Pacific (BLP) is a New Zealand Government funded multi-country programme operating in Vanuatu, and partnering with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to offer qualified small to medium size enterprise (SME) to initially access services via a subsidy program available through local business advisory service providers (BASP)

Kesha Licht has recently joined the VCCI team as a new Business Services Support Specialist, helping SMEs access professional services throughout Vanuatu. She will work closely with Business Link Pacific & Vanuatu Chambers of Commerce and Industry to support SMEs in Vanuatu by referring them (SME) to affordable and appropriate services and advisors via BLP Subsidy Scheme.

The VCCI ‘Triage Programme’ means she will deal directly with SMEs to assess their business needs, diagnose priority issues and eventually find solutions and services from local Business Advisory Service Providers. These Business Advisory Service Providers will eventually assist SMEs to grow their businesses, improve their operations and access needed technology through experienced local advisors, technical experts and business professionals throughout Vanuatu. 

For any interested 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.

Business Link Pacific offers a conditional Subsidy (Funding) Scheme that will enable Small to Medium Enterprises to try out new services at more affordable rates and realise the value of these services in their business operations to drive efficiency, growth and expansion. The Subsidy Scheme also helps service providers (BASP) to develop and launch new services tailored specifically to SME needs.

Please feel free to drop by the Chamber’s Office or contact Kesha for more information on the Triage Programme and how to access business support and the BLP Subsidy Scheme.

For more information, you can contact Kesha Licht by email [email protected]; phone 27543 Ext 19 or mobile 5555347.

 

Councillors of VCCI after AGM 2018

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a statutory body, under the Chambers of Commerce and Industry Act CAP 236 of 1995, which is governed by the Council. The VCCI Council has 16 Councillors who are the representatives of the industry sectors in Vanuatu.

Each Councillor represents the businesses operating in a given industry sector.

You can approach the Councillor representing your industry sector to learn more about how to develop and grow your industry sector or discuss any difficulties, issues or concerns.

Councillors are being elected for a two years period to sit in the Council as per the CCIV Act.

The Councillors representing industry sectors are as follows:

Name                                      Sector                                     Position /Title

Mr Thomas Bayer                   Finance                                       President

Mr David Russet                     Agriculture                                 1st Vice President

Mrs Cornelia Wyllie               Large Commerce                       2nd Vice President

Mr Michael Fimeri                 Finance                                        Treasurer

Mr Bryan Death                      Tourism                                       Secretary

Mr Simon Troman                 Tourism                                        Member

Mr James Batty                      Small Commerce                         Member

Mr Joseph Brun                     Small Commerce                         Member

Mr Asok Kumar                      Large Commerce                         Member

Mr Laurence Cameron          Shipping Industry                       Member

Mr Donald Massing               Land Transport                            Member

Mr Toara Karie                       Air Transport                                Member

Mr Marc Perraud                   Public Utilities                              Member

Mrs Carolyn Ernst                 Women’s Group                           Member

Mr Shaun Gilchrist                Manufacturer                               Member

Mr Teiva Durand                   Manufacturer                               Alternate

Mr James Roy Matariki       Building                                         Member

 

Business licence holders are automatically members of VCCI.

For more information, you can contact VCCI Reception by phone 27543 or email [email protected]

 

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – Today Focus is on going into business with family or friends.

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 going into business with family or friends.

Family or community businesses are extremely common all over the Pacific and we often employ family members before looking outside.  They have the advantage of working with people we know and already have close relationships with.

However, there are many challenges that we need to be aware of.  Many people go into business with family or friends because it seems easy and the right thing to do at the time.  And of course, it might be!  Just because someone is a family member, or a friend doesn’t make them the right business partner or even employee.  Do they have the right skills and attitudes? Can we separate our family/ friend relationships out from a business one? Can we have a professional business relationship?  How will we deal with performance issues should they arrive? How will we make the money work?  Can we give each other honest feedback?

Doing business with family or friends should, in theory, be the same as doing business with anyone.  The business relationship should be professional and planned with clear roles and responsibilities and very good communications. If we employ family members or friends, they should be treated exactly the same way that we treat non-family members.  Goals and objectives should be set and measured, performance reviews should be regular and consistent.

However, it is easy to say all this – we can’t escape the fact that working with family or friends is different.  The emotional ties are different.  Expectations are different.  We often feel a sense of obligation to employ family members.

Many family businesses run into problems because the wrong people are in the wrong roles, yet it is hard, if not impossible sometimes, to do anything about it. Not easy to sack our father or sister or uncle!  Sadly, when a family business turns sour the family relationships usually suffer as well.

If you can, try to avoid getting into this situation in the first place by treating the employment of family members in the same way as you would with non-family members.  It is a good idea to involve an outsider to help you with the selection process, someone who does not have the same emotional attachment – a business adviser or mentor.  Make sure you have written agreements or contracts.

Set performance targets at the beginning of the business relationship.  Have business meetings, even if you see each other day.  If you work with your husband or wife or children try not to mix business with home life.  I know this is not easy, but the business can soon become demotivating if we talk about it all the time!  If you work from home, try to find somewhere where you can shut the door on the business when you are not working so you don’t have to live with it 24 hours a day!  Have business meetings where you go somewhere out of the home to focus on the business.

Working with people we are close to can be extremely rewarding and often brings an added dimension to the business but just because we are related to someone or know someone well doesn’t mean we can work with them!

Finally, if you work with both family and non-family members remember to treat everyone equally and in a transparent manner.  It is a quick way to demotivate people if they feel they are being treated differently just because they are not related to you!!

If you need help with understanding or analysing your employment of friends and family 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 

VCCI Manufacturing Industry Vacant Seat, Update on China International Import Expo Nov 2018, PIPSO has moved and Other news

VCCI Manufacturing Industry Vacant Seat

There is a Manufacturing industry vacant seat in the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Council.

Any interested candidate has to hold a current business license category B for

Manufacturing industry. The term of office for each sector on the VCCI Council is two years.

Business Licence Holders are automatically members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For more information on Council candidacy for the Manufacturing industry sector and submit your candidacy form, you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or call tel 27543, mob 7123967 before Wednesday 23 May 2018.

Update on China International Import Expo Nov 2018

This is the third and final awareness and update of the first China International Import Expo from 5 to 10 November 2018 to be held in Shanghai, China. The VCCI is finalizing the Private Sector participants to this expo. It is important that there is a confirmed group, to work with now, to prepare for this event. Therefore after this notice, VCCI will be work directly, only with the finalized participants. These are important points you need to consider.

  • The Expo Committee will cover costs on Freight and duties (if there is any) for the products.
  • The individual businesses will meet their own costs of transportation, accommodation, meals and visa.
  • The Ministry of Foreign affairs will write a supporting letter for your visa application.
  • The Department of External Trade will coordinate the visa applications as a group application.
  • The committee can book and liaise for cheaper accommodation if you indicate.
  • There are two free booths in the pavilion where sales of items are allowed. This is 9m square each.
  • There are two free booths in the country showcase pavilion (no sales allowed) Display only.

The committee will still find more information on:

  • The design of each booth
  • What will be supplied like display table, desk, shelves to each booth
  • Other configurations around the booth.
  • Other necessary information

Then it will disseminate more information to only those that indicate their participation.

What information the committee needs from you, if you still agree to be part of the Expo:

  • Please, confirmation of whether you are still going or not.
  • The amount (in cartons or other package container) of products you plan to take over for this 5 day period. For a rough estimate of container cost.

If you cannot afford to go, you can still send your sample products, brochures and flyers. You will advise VCCI accordingly if this is the case.

There will be booth supervisors who will be there to promote on your behalf.

Email [email protected] to advise your choice now, the deadline to confirm your interest and or participation is 24 May 2018 at 5pm.

 

PIPSO has moved

The Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) Team and Office are no longer located at 31 Gorrie Street, Suva but now situated within the Pacific Islands Forum on Ratu Sukuna Road, Nasese in Suva, Fiji. Their office is next to the Main Reception Room of PIFS headquarters.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the National Private Sector Organisation representing PIPSO in Vanuatu.

For more information on PIPSO, you can contact Kristyn Lobendahn, Communication Officer, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Compound, Ratu Sukuna Road, Suva, Fiji, Phone: +(679) 7736 304, Mobile: +(679) 7659 488, email [email protected], website: www.pipso.org.fj

 

Four Pacific Island businesses win top Innovator Awards

Four Pacific Island companies were amongst the top 15 of the Frontier Innovator Award handed out by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The 15 companies were selected from 700 applications from Asia-Pacific region for offering innovative and unique solutions in a raft of areas including health, agriculture, education, environment, energy and technology.

Of the 15 – two were from Samoa – Nora’s Plantation Foods for cocoa products, SkyEye for digital tracking solutions; Taste of Tonga, a coconut oil company focusing on waste minimisation, Mamma’s Laef from Vanuatu for feminine hygiene products.  The other 11 came from countries such as the Indonesia, Netherlands, Cambodia, Philippines, Pakistan and Myanmar.

Winners get up to AUD$100,000 in grant funding, expert assistance and support, advice and access to potential partners and investors.

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade has congratulated the efforts of Pacific Island businesses.

“We are pleased to see this progress and the on floe of economic benefits it brings the Pacific.  Whilst it might seem odd for PTI New Zealand to be actively congratulating Pacific companies who have done well in Australia – it is has been long established that while New Zealand is often the first country of export, many companies gain confidence from this first step and as they also build critical mass, the natural progression is next step Australia!

PTI NZ has worked with one of the top companies, Nora’s Plantation Foods Limited at the Auckland Food Show and Fine Food Show.  Pacific Periscope also reported on SkyEye after they attended a Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) event in Auckland.

PTI Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao said, “We congratulate these companies from the Pacific Islands on achieving the Frontier Innovators Award. It is great to see a growing number of companies from the Pacific Islands competing for this award.”

Three other Pacific Island finalists notable for being “some of the most impactful businesses from across the Asia-Pacific.”

These included, Artisan Culture of Papua New Guinea for providing a marketplace and capacity building for cultural PNG products, Bula Coffee from Fiji who partners with local Fijian producers to produce coffee for local and international agricultural and eco-tourism markets and Varivao, Solomon Islands for sourcing and exporting agricultural commodities and building capacity amongst farmers.

Artisan Culture was part of the PTI NZ Path to Market programme at its Pasifika Business Market this year.  PTI NZ also worked with Varivao in 2015 as part of the IACT food and beverage trade mission in 2015 and Bula Coffee came to a previous Path to Market Workshop in Fiji.

The PTI network assists export ready Pacific companies to enter the New Zealand market and helps match investors with opportunities in the Pacific.

For more information on PTI NZ please contact: Joe Fuavao, Trade Development Manager on [email protected]

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs

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 managing the money.

Leaning how to manage our money is crucial to all business owners and of extra importance to SMEs where money is sometimes hard to come by!! It is a real temptation to think that just because we have money in our pocket we are doing well!  We forget about the bills we have to pay, the taxes we owe, the staff we must pay on time, the equipment we need to buy and so on.

One challenge around managing the money is the assumption that it must be difficult or expensive if we need an accountant.  Not managing our money well could certainly be expensive!

Start out with a simple cash flow and budget – this can be on paper or on a spreadsheet on your computer.  There are many packages on the market aimed at helping SMEs manage their money (MYOB, Quickbooks and Xero are well-known ones in the Pacific).  You might find it confusing to know which one to choose.  My advice is to ask around – ask your bank, ask other business owners, ask your local Chamber or Business Association, ask your mentor.

Keep it simple!  Especially at the beginning.  If finance is new to you try signing up for a financial literacy or business finance course.  It is worth putting in the effort to understand cashflow, profit and loss, break-even, budgets, point of sale, capital expenditure etc.  The more you understand these terms the easier it will be to decide what you need for your business.

On line systems are certainly useful but a very simple business may not need anything so complex.  An old-fashioned cash book and receipt book might still do the trick.

Whatever system you decide on it must work for your business.  It needs to help you estimate and record all expenses and record all income.  Get into the habit of asking for receipts for everything you spend where at all possible and keep the business money separate from your own.  It only becomes yours once you have paid everything you owe!

If you do not keep a record of everything you spend then you cannot manage it.  At least monthly review your expenditure and see if there are ways in which you can reduce it or use the money more effectively.  Stop and think before you make a large purchase – can you afford it; do you really need it at this time; is it the best use of your money; do you need a new one or will second-hand do?

Managing your income and expenditure is an essential part of running a good business.  You cannot afford to avoid it.  If you bury your head in the sand you might be throwing away your hard earned cash.

Ask someone to help you set up a money management system that is right for you and avoid paying for more than you need.

Finally when starting a business try to avoid a loan – it is not a good idea to start a new venture in debt if you can possibly avoid it.  Maybe you start smaller or slower; maybe friends and family can support you; maybe you limit yourself by your own resources.  All over the Pacific people go to NZ or Australia as seasonal workers and return with money to start a business.  If you do this, plan ahead and think through what you need and where it is going to come from.

If you are tempted to borrow money, check out the terms and conditions and the interest rates before making any decisions.  In the Pacific there are a number of small micro finance businesses aimed at SMEs.  Don’t be too quick to take a loan – compare what is on offer and look for the best deal.  Discuss your options with your mentor or an independent person before deciding to borrow.

If you need help with understanding or analysing money management 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 

China International Import Export November 2018 Info, Business Valuation By Mergers and Acquisitions and Other News.

China International Import Expo November 2018 Info

This is the second update from the last article printed from 2 weeks ago. The VCCI is finalising the Private Sector participants to this expo to be held in Shanghai, China from 5 to 10 November 2018. Therefore it is important, if you are interested in this event, to follow these steps before Monday 14th of May, 4:30pm.

  1. Email [email protected] to confirm your interest and contact details.
  2. In your email, notify if you are interested in :
  3. funding you own booth, or
  4. share a booth with other partners and share its cost (name the other partners), or
  5. indicate to be part of the shared free booth.
  6. In your email, also indicate whether you will only be showcasing your products, or you will be doing both showcasing and selling products at the event.

We will shortly be working out booth arrangements, therefore your response would give a clear determination on which booths to secure, so that the Vanuatu booths are in one block.

Below is the booths information for your interest.

 

Preferential Treatments for Enterprises from LDCs

The original Price is:

 

Raw space: USD 300 /m²

Standard booth: USD 3,000 /9m².

 

Preferential Treatments for Enterprises from LDCs are as follows:

 

  1. 2 free standard booths.

 

  1. 20% off for reservation i.e.
          Raw space:  USD 240, Standard both: USD 2,400 /9m².

 

  1. If a company order over 500 m² exhibition area, there will be another 10% discount for the Raw space or Standard booth cost.

 

  1. If a company order over 18 m² exhibition area, we will provide supports like facilities, online promoting etc.

 

  1. If enterprises request for help in transportation of the itemondisplay, Chinese side will try to facilitate.

Note: Before enterprises enjoy treatment No.1 and No.2, a recommendation letter from Economic and commercial counsellor’s office, Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu is needed.

 

Business Valuation By M&A

Because it is always difficult for a business owner to give an objective valuation of his company and this is not made any easier when faced with the range of valuation methods to choose from, Mergers and Acquisitions Ltd M&A Ltd is organising a conference to explain the process in detail.

With 10 years’ experience in the fi​eld of business transactions in Nouma, M&A Ltd will be presenting the key steps to a successful sale.

The conferences will take place on the 1st floor of the Grand Casino Hotel:

  • in French on Wednesday 16 May at 6pm
  • in English on Thursday 17 May at 2pm

If you wish to enrol and attend the conference, select your choice of session and send your details to [email protected] to book as soon as possible as there are limited number of seats available.

 

Valeur Entreprise Par M&A

Parce qu’il l est toujours très difficile pour un chef d’entreprise d’avoir un regard objectif sur la valeur de son entreprise, d’autant plus qu’il existe une multitude de méthode de valorisation, la société Mergers et Acquisitions Ltd M&A Limited vous propose d’aborder ce sujet en détail, lors de sa toute nouvelle conférence dédiée à la transmission d’entreprise,

Forts de dix ans d’expérience dans le domaine de la transaction d’entreprise à Nouméa, la société M&A Limited vous présentera les démarches essentielles à la réussite de vos projets.

Conférences au 1er étage du Grand Casino hotel:

  • en français le mercredi 16 mai à 18h00
  • en anglais le jeudi 17 mai à 14h00

Inscrivez-vous dès maintenant par email [email protected] car le nombre de places est limitée.

 

Conference VAUBAN IMMOBILIER 17 to 18 May 2018 Grand Hotel

This is an open invitation to any interested persons who may wish to discover Asean Properties by Vauban Immobilier, who is the ideal partner for future investments.

For more, the STANDING Real Estate is an estate agency based in Noumea, New Caledonia. This agency is specialized in real estate transactions: purchase/sale, apartments, houses, villas, land, properties, buildings, and real estate promotions in local tax exemption in New Caledonia and in the Asia-Pacific area.

Meet the team of experts who will be in Port Vila for the first time on the 17th and 18th May 2018.

This conference will be held in both languages therefore:

  • The French version will be on Thursday 17th May at 6pm
  • English Version will be on Friday 18th May at  10am

The event will be followed by a cocktail at the Grand Hotel’s pool.

For those of you who may be interested please send your confirmation by email to [email protected]

 

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – Understanding and Analysing risk.

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 understanding and analysing risk.

Running a small business is a risky business. If we can’t handle risks we should probably not be in business for ourselves.

Because risks are part of running a business we cannot ignore them – we must do our best to plan and prepare in order to reduce their impact.

In the Pacific we live with external risks all the time – cyclones, storms, earthquakes etc – and the challenge is to prepare as best we can without letting the fear of the risk stop us from running a successful business.

Internal risks are easier to manage – health and safety is an obvious one.  All businesses should have a health and safety plan and make sure that you eliminate as many risks for yourselves, your staff and your customers as possible. Move things that people could trip over or slip on or be hit by.  One injury to a customer could ruin your business.  Move rubbish and check all your electrics so there is less risk of fire.  One fire could ruin your business!

Another set of risks are associated with making wrong business decisions – these are almost always associated with poor or inadequate planning.  We recruit someone without proper process; we enter into a business relationship without doing due diligence on the other party; we start a new business without checking the market and customer base.

While we may not be able to control external business risks like economic downturn or loss of tourism revenue we can keep ourselves informed by reading the newspapers or going on line or through the TV so that we are not taken by surprise.

The nature of many small businesses is to be reactive and that causes problems when it comes to understanding and analysing risk.  We have to be proactive – we have to keep asking ourselves what might stop this business achieving its goals.  Get into the habit of doing this on a regular basis with your business partners or key staff.  By taking this proactive approach you might be able to identify the opportunities associated with the risk.  For example whenever there is a major weather event there are international visitors and organisations that need services and facilities.

Perhaps by working with a couple of other local businesses you can identify the opportunities that might emerge from a risk.

Developing your planning skills and engaging your team in regular planning will help mitigate many risks and will also develop your problem solving skills which will be of benefit to the business.  Most risks can be reduced if we think about them and accept the challenge to act on them.  Risk management is a legitimate business activity and should be part of your regular business development processes.

Engage your staff, ask your customers, walk round your business and see what could cause a problem.  Identify things that have been annoying you for ages and fix them!  The chances are that if they annoy you they annoy others!!

Discuss concerns about external business risks with your mentor or business advisor. Participate in your local Chamber of Commerce and discuss potential risks with others – they may have ideas you have not thought of.  Perhaps by working together you can alleviate a risk collaboratively.

Risks are part of business.  Start with a simple SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis to make a list of the main threats that could impact on your business.  Identify those that you can eliminate by better business processes and do so.  Refine and improve your planning processes. Develop a resilience plan for business survival following a major disaster.  Involve all your staff and encourage them to think about risks to their own families and communities.

Finally make sure that your customers know you are working hard to reduce risks in your business – the more they feel safe the more business they will bring you!

If you need help with understanding or analysing risk 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 

Information about Automatic Exchange of Tax, Vanuatu M&A Conference 16-17 May 2018 and Other News.

Information about Automatic Exchange of Tax

The Vanuatu Competent Authority under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management has sent a notice as of 29th March 2018 to advise all Financial Institutions (Custodial and Depository institutions, Investment entities and Specified Insurance Companies) that they are required to notify the Vanuatu Competent Authority that they have a reporting obligation under the Automatic Exchange of Information Regulations Order No. 76 of 2017 and the International Tax Cooperation Act No. 7 of 2016.

On 29 March 2018 a notice requiring notification by Reportable Financial Institutions was published. The Notice contains important information. If it applies to any of Business Houses who may be Financial Institutions that are impacted by the Automatic Exchange of Tax Information rules, the responsible Business should take steps to send the required notification to the Competent Authority.

For more information, please visit the Vanuatu Competent Authority webpage to obtain a copy of the notice as well as an overview of the Automatic Exchange of Tax Information Arrangements. A detailed Guide is also available for your information.

https://doft.gov.vu/index.php/widgetkit/vanuatu-competent-authority

Financial institution consultations will be undertaken in the coming weeks.

If you require further information, you can email Mr. Rex Wille Semeno, Vanuatu Compentent Authority, Revenue Policy and Implementation Unit, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management at [email protected]

Vanuatu M&A Conference 16-17 May 2018

 

You are invited to meet the Mergers and Acquisitions Ltd M&A team of 2 experts for 2 unique conferences at the Grand-Hotel on 16th and 17th May 2018. On the 16th May at 6pm, the conference will be in French Version and on the 17th May at 2pm,  it will be in English Version.

How much is your business / company worth? Are you interested in buying or selling a company or business?

Subjects to discuss:

  • Selling or purchasing a company or a business
  • Company and business Valuation
  • Financing process
  • Due-Diligence
  • Costs related to the purchase of a company or a business
  • Finding a buyer in Polynesia or New-Caledonia

This conference is  proudly sponsored by the following sponsors:

Bred Bank, BSP, AJC, Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Land Logic.

These 2 events will be followed by a cocktail served by the pool at the Grand Hotel in Port-Vila ! If you would like to participate, please enroll now to attend the selected conference by email : [email protected] or by calling : + 678 77 48 055

For those of you who may be interested please click to view and download the invitation from M&A in English Version.

 

Vanuatu Conférence M&A 16-17 Mai 2018

 

Rencontrez notre équipe d’experts de Mergers Acquisitions Ltd M&A pour 2 dates uniques au Grand-Hotel, à Port-Vila, les 16 & 17 Mai prochains.  Le 16 mai à 18 heures la conférence  se tiendra en version française. Le 17 mai à 14 heures, la conférence  se tiendra en version anglaise. 

Quel est la valeur de votre entreprise? Vous avez un project d’achat ou de vente d’une entreprise?

Sujets abordés :

  • Achetez ou vendre une entreprise
  • Evaluation d’une entreprise
  • Financement de l’acquisition
  • Due-Diligence
  • Frais relatifs l’achat d’une entreprise
  • Opportunités d’achat ou de vente en Polynésie et Nouvelle-Calédonie

Cette conférence est sponsorisée par: Bred Bank, BSP, AJC, Chambre de Commerce & d’Industrie du Vanuatu et Land Logic

Chacune de ces 2 dates sera suivie d’un cocktail autour de la piscine du Grand-Hôtel à Port-Vila. Participez dès à présent à l’une de nos 2 conférences et inscrivez-vous par mail :  [email protected], par téléphone : + 678 77 48 055

Pour ceux d’entre vous qui seraient intéressés, veuillez cliquer pour visualiser et télécharger l’invitation de M&A en version française.

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs

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 collaborating with others.

None of us are as smart as all of us!

Running a small business, especially for the first time, can be a lonely and isolating experience.  There are so many things to learn and so much to do.  For many new small business owners they are also trying to work elsewhere in order to bring in money while their business venture gets off the ground.

A major challenge is how can we collaborate with others and retain our own uniqueness and identity?  If we don’t collaborate we will almost certainly be reinventing the wheel and learning the hard way. If we do collaborate then maybe we run the risk of losing our good ideas to someone else.

There are many forms of collaboration.  We may join a networking group where the purpose is to share ideas and try and trade with each other. We might approach other businesses with a view to joining forces for a one-off project or as full blown partnership.

Whatever form of collaboration we might be thinking about we must be clear as to why we want to go this route.  Are there other options?  Can I learn the skills I need myself? Will collaborating with others help me achieve my goals faster and more profitably?  Who should I collaborate with?  For example a group of different businesses working together in a shopping area or street could collaborate on joint marketing or special promotions.  Could I add value to what I produce or sell by collaborating with others?  Will I lose my identity if I work with other people?  Am I putting effort into competing with someone when I could more profitably work with them?

There are a lot of questions to ask that need answers. Take your time to enter into a collaborative relationship. Find out as much as you can about your prospective ‘partner’. Talk it through with friends and associates. Perhaps give it a try – collaborate on a single project to see if it works before making any bigger commitment.  Collaboration could include a range of relationships from something very informal to a formal partnership or working arrangement.

Whatever you do has to work for you, your business and your customers. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce or business organisation as the first step – there you might meet people of like mind that you could work with. Clusters are a greet form of collaboration – businesses doing similar things working together to share costs, add value and provide badly needed support for each other.

We cannot ignore the businesses around us – they probably are not ignoring us!  There is nothing to lose by exploring possible ways to work together – enter into no arrangement or firm commitment until you are sure it will be in your best interests and in the best interests of your customers.

Start your journey to collaboration by networking with others – go to business gatherings or meetings, talk to others, listen and learn. If you have a mentor discuss with him/ her about the merits and dangers of collaboration and explore how you could make the relationship work for you. Take your time and you may find a relationship that will revolutionise the profitability of both businesses.

If you need help with collaboration 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 

Reminder of VCCI AGM 2018 on 30 April, 3 MAY 2018 Awareness Meeting for China International Import Expo 2018 and Other News.

Reminder of VCCI AGM 2018 on 30 April

This is a reminder that 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 1 seat for Large Commerce (business license D1 or D2 with annual turnover greater than VT50,000,000), 1 seat for Building Construction (business license C or F4), 1 seat for Land Transport (business license E), 1 seat for Air Transport (business license E), and 1 seat for Public Utilities (business license I1, I2, I3 or I4).

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.

For the avoidance of any misunderstanding of the election rules, they are stated here.

  1. If there is a vacancy in any individual sector the nominees to fill that sector must hold a Business License from that sector.
  2. Only members with a current Business License have votes, so you must bring with you to the AGM a photocopy of your Business License(s), and when you register your attendance you will be given one or more ballot slips for which Business License(s) you hold.
  3. Each current Business License is deemed to be a member and can appoint one representative.
  4. A representative can act for more than one Business License. He/she will be given one ballot slip for each different Business License held.
  5. If a Business License has more than one sector (not counting sub-sectors) it is entitled to receive a Ballot Slip for each sector set out in the Business License.
  6. If there is only one nomination for a particular sent, received before 30th of April, that nominee shall be the declared winner.
  7. The term of office for each sector is two years.
  8. A representative of the agriculture industry and of women will be elected by the new Council, and not by the members at the AGM.

All business Licence Holders are invited to attend and bring with them their current business license document(s) for 2018. Business Licence Holders are automatically members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Light refreshments will be served after the Meeting.

For more information on Council candidacy by industry sector or to confirm your attendance, you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or call tel 27543, mob 7123967.

 

3 MAY 2018 Awareness Meeting for China International Import Expo 2018

China is the largest exporter in the world and will be hosting the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) from 5 to 10 November 2018 in Shanghai this year. It hopes that the event will provide new opportunities for countries around the world participating to the CIIE to expand their exports to China by showcasing their products in China, while also providing a platform for countries to engage with trade between each other.

In the Vanuatu Shanghai CII Expo Committee meeting held in February 2018, members have agreed that Vanuatu should be participating in the Shanghai CII Expo, given the potential opportunity to showcase our products which cover Industrial products, Apparel, Accessories and Consumer Goods, Foods and Agriculture Products, Tourism Services, Culture and Education, Creative Design and Service Outsourcing.

Also given the strong diplomatic relationship between Vanuatu-China in terms of development assistance and other economic aspects, members who attended the meeting had emphasised the importance of our participation.

The Department of External Trade has also considered the importance of financial support towards Vanuatu’s participation and will seek possible supports where available.

In preparation towards this expo, the Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu will hold a Shanghai CII Expo Awareness Meeting on Thursday 3 May 2018 at 11am – 12pm at the Chinese Embassy, Port Vila. This awareness meeting will shed some lights on how effectively Vanuatu can prepare for this expo. Local enterprises who have potential interests to participate in this expo are also invited to this CIIE Awareness Meeting.

Space is very limited, therefore it is important to email [email protected] or call 27543 at VCCI Reception to reserve a space for you before 5 pm on Wednesday 2 May 2018.

 

 Vanuatu Industry Baseline Survey for Employers

The Government recognizes that skills development is one of the key engines for economic growth and sustainable development. Currently there is a mismatch between the current education and training system and the labour market, where skill gaps, skill shortages and over-supply of low-skilled labour are seen to be hindering the national development objectives.

In order to meet the aspirations of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2016-2060, it is necessary to develop and implement the National Human Resource Development Plan (NHRDP) to clarify the skills, training and knowledge requirements as articulated throughout the NSDP.

The overall objective is to determine the demand for and supply of priority skills to the formal and informal sectors of the Vanuatu economy, and to use this analysis to develop an NHRDP that addresses issues related to skills shortages and optimal use of labour as critical components of sustainable economic growth and reduced levels of poverty, unemployment and income inequality.

The Prime Minister’s office, throughout the Department of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC) is coordinating the development of the NHRDP in association with the Australian funded Vanuatu Skills Partnership.

The survey, in 3 languages, Bislama, English and French, is part of the research to support the development of a National Human Resource Development Plan. A cover letter with the survey will provide the background to the research and the NHRDP.

Employers are invited to complete the survey in order to assist DSPPAC to gain a better understanding of human resource development issues affecting the Private Sector in Vanuatu in order to better inform investment decisions in post school education and training, including scholarships.

The survey is available from VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or by phone 27543. Any completed surveys should be returned as soon as possible directly to Mr Scott Tavi at DSPPAC by email [email protected]

 

Impact Investment in Action

Impact investing refers to investments made with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. There’s an increasing rise in impact investors and businesses in the Pacific Islands, which are well suited to benefit from this new investor class versus traditional investment methods.

In April 2017, Vanuatu coffee producer Tanna Coffee announced it had secured an A$656,000 impact investment – a milestone deal for Vanuatu and the Pacific Islands. One year on, we take a closer look to understand how the investment came about and the impact it has made so far.

Tanna Coffee traditionally grows, harvest, processes, roasts and distributes premium, single-origin coffee on the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu. Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia has worked with Tanna Coffee since 2009, helping to develop their export market potential.

As part of an Australian DFAT sponsored program, PTI Australia became aware that The Difference Incubator (TDi) was looking for social enterprises in the Pacific Islands – businesses that were making a positive social and/or environmental impact that potentially provide a meaningful market return for an investor. Tanna Coffee was one of the Pacific Island enterprises PTI Australia introduced to TDi.

TDi is an intermediary working with businesses to get them ready for investment. After an initial meeting with owner Terry Adlington and the team at Tanna Coffee, TDi spent considerable time learning and understanding the business (model and management), their social and environmental impact as well as what required in terms of investment. TDi could see that Tanna Coffee presented great potential for impact investment.

Through this process Tanna Coffee was provided with an overall assessment of their entire business – its strengths, weaknesses and gaps, along with a plan for moving things forward. This included an assessment of the potential valuation of the company (necessary for equity investment), a prospective return to the investors and a final buy-back position.

Over the next 12 months, TDi worked intensively with Tanna Coffee to prepare them for an eventual pitch to an investor and achieve an investment outcome. This included:

  • helping Tanna Coffee to address gaps and assumptions within their business model;
  • clarifying their overall social and environmental outcome, framework and metrics;
  • conducting financial modelling and preparing relevant documentation for investors;
  • clarifying the businesses preferred investment plans, terms and conditions;
  • helping Tanna Coffee to understand if these aims and objectives were realistic.

Terry Adlington said although the process took him well outside of his normal comfort zone and was really quite demanding, ultimately it brought him better clarity and renewed confidence in his business moving forward.

“The work with TDi gave me a far greater insight into Tanna Coffee, that helped me to dive deeper into the details of my businesses, then I had before. I have always had a strong vision for Tanna Coffee; however, I’ve never sat down and articulated it in such detail. The financial component regarding profit and loss statements and forecasting was an area where I and Tanna Coffee really grew with TDi’s coaching. It’s these figures and the forecasts that impact investors need to provide confidence that they are investing in a solid, sustainable business.

“Also the logic model they helped develop around our social impact and how we can monitor this over time, was also really eye-opening. Each day we see the direct impact the business has on all of our farmers and their livelihoods. The logic model took this aspect to the next level, where we can now confidently prove the actual socio-economic impact we have to our Australian investor and our newly formed board of directors.”

Every impact investor and investment is different. The key areas that Tanna Coffee were able to demonstrate, substantiate and articulate in their pitch to secure their investment, were:

  • a realistic risk-adjusted market-rate of return
  • a development plan substantiating a high level of environmental responsibility
  • their Mission, model and management (demonstrating that they are a sustainable and investible business)
  • strong support from the community, overcoming diversity, passionate management, and resilience
  • confidence in the buy-back position, so the equity can eventually be returned to Tanna Coffee

The impact investment of A$656,000 is being provided in three tranches. The initial tranche has been used to grow Tanna’s operations following the devastation that tropical Cyclone Pam brought when it hit Tanna Island in 2015. This included recovery and rehabilitation of almost 200,000 damaged and destroyed coffee plants, whilst supporting around 1,000 small-holder coffee farmers who had lost their only source of cash income.

Tanna Coffee has now implemented a board of directors and is working hard to expand and develop its production base to satisfy and fulfil current demands from overseas. This will be done through utilising and redeveloping a previously planted (but now abandoned) former 200-hectare coffee plantation through the allocation of individual one hectare commercial blocks to participating smallholder farmers.

Mr Adlington said the investment has been crucial for Tanna Coffee.

“After Cyclone Pam, we had very limited options available to us to rebuild the business that had been destroyed. The impact investment has enabled us to not only get Tanna Coffee back on track (post cyclone), but also provide a great depth of accountability to our business. To other Pacific businesses looking at impact investment, my advice is that you need to be prepared to be pushed well outside of your comfort zone; as it takes a lot of hard work to ensure you have your business model and financials in order, and it’s the work in progress that takes most time. For auditing purposes, we now have a full-time accounts person.

“It is certainly worth the effort of what we have put in, to see the positive results of what we’ve been able to achieve with the first tranche that ultimately makes it all worthwhile.”

For more information on The Difference Incubator (TDi), you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or call tel 27543, mob 7123967.

VCCI AGM 2018 on 30 April, MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS CONFERENCE 16-17 MAY 2018 and Other News.

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 1 seat for Large Commerce (business license D1 or D2 with annual turnover greater than VT50,000,000), 1 seat for Building Construction (business license C or F4), 1 seat for Land Transport (business license E), 1 seat for Air Transport (business license E), and 1 seat for Public Utilities (business license I1, I2, I3 or I4).

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.

For the avoidance of any misunderstanding of the election rules, they are stated here.

1.       If there is a vacancy in any individual sector the nominees to fill that sector must hold a Business License from that sector.

2.       Only members with a current Business License have votes, so you must bring with you to the AGM a photocopy of your Business License(s), and when you register your attendance you will be given one or more ballot slips for which Business License(s) you hold.

3.       Each current Business License is deemed to be a member and can appoint one representative.

4.       A representative can act for more than one Business License. He/she will be given one ballot slip for each different Business License held.

5.       If a Business License has more than one sector (not counting sub-sectors) it is entitled to receive a Ballot Slip for each sector set out in the Business License.

6.       If there is only one nomination for a particular sent, received before 30th of April, that nominee shall be the declared winner.

7.       The term of office for each sector is two years.

8.       A representative of the agriculture industry and of women will be elected by the new Council, and not by the members at the AGM.

All business Licence Holders are invited to attend and bring with them their business license document(s). Business Licence Holders are automatically members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Please click to view and download the Notice of Council seats at AGM 2018  

Light refreshments will be served after the Meeting.

For more information on Council candidacy by industry sector or to confirm your attendance, you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or call tel 27543, mob 7123967.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS CONFERENCE 16-17 MAY 2018

Anyone who has created his or her own company or business knows that many years of hard work were involved to make it a success.

​The​n comes naturally the​  question of selling the business to move on to new horizons: a new business, a new sector, retirement …

Selling your business may seem simple but it is a complicated process and many business owners do not know where to begin.

M&A Ltd, Mergers & Acquisitions Ltd, recently set up offices in Vanuatu and are organising a conference dedicated to business transactions.

M&A’s partners have 10 years’ experience in mergers and acquisitions in Nouméa, New Caledonia. During the conference, they will be outlining the steps involved in a successful business transaction.

The conference sessions will be held on the 1st floor of the Grand Casino hotel and will be followed by a cocktail at the pool:

–          M&A Conference session in French on 16 May 2018 at 6pm

–          M&A Conference session in English on 17 May 2018 at 2pm

If you wish to enrol and attend the conference, select your choice French session or English session, and send your details to [email protected]

Please book as soon as possible as there are limited number of seats available.

 

CONFERENCE MERGERS ET ACQUISITIONS 16-17 MAI 2018

Après plusieurs années de dur labeur, qui n’a jamais pensé à vendre son business pour partir vers d’autres projets: un nouveau business, la retraite…

Si cette question semble facile de prime abord, il arrive souvent que les chefs d’entreprises ne sachent pas par où commencer pour mener à bien un tel projet.

La société M&A Limited, nouvellement créée au Vanuatu, vous propose une conférence dédiée au thème de la transmission d’entreprise.

Forts de dix ans d’expérience dans le domaine de la transaction d’entreprise à Nouméa, Nouvelle-Calédonie, ses associés vous exposeront les démarches essentielles à la réussite de vos projets.

Les sessions de la conference se tiendront au 1er étage du Grand Casino hotel:

–     Conférence M&A session en français le mercredi 16 mai à 18h00

–     Conférence M&A session en anglais le jeudi 17 mai à 14h00

Inscrivez-vous dès maintenant par email [email protected] car le nombre de places est limitée.

 

Vanuatu National Provident Fund Management and Leadership Training

Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) Managers and Team Leaders have recently completed Leadership and Management training that was specifically tailored and facilitated by the Business Development Service (BDS) Unit of Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

VNPF understands the importance of its role as member-driven National organization and identifies the needs for strong management and leadership to deliver vision of its new Strategic Plan under the governance of the VNPF Act. VNPF has revisited its critical priorities and realized its requirement to develop their in-house capacity of its staff as being one great opportunity for its Human Resource Development area.

VNPF has undertaken a detailed training needs analysis for its staff whereby Leadership and Management training was deemed to be a priority.

The training was dispersed across two groups. There were a total of 17 participants that attended this training. The first group was made up of VNPF Teams Leaders, with their training commencing on the 3rd and completed on the 6th of April. The second group comprised of the Management Team, commencing on the 9th and completed on the 11th of April.

The training focused on incorporating interactive discussions between participants and topics covered were in reference to the current VNPF Act and how it is effectively enforced through VNPF’s operations. A thorough review and deeper discussion on organizational strategic perspectives was undertaken and it enhanced a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and how they align to achieve organizational goals.

Positive feedback was provided by the participants at the end of the training. All participants left the training with a sense of achievement in gaining their Statement of Completion and renewed levels of motivation to deliver improvement in Management and Leadership within their Departments of Vanuatu National Provident Fund.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce has a very proactive Business Development Service Unit that is always available to help business houses in terms of training in all areas. Please feel free to contact the office on +678 27543/ 7123967 or email: [email protected]

You can also access information on Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) website at www.vcci.com

 

vnpf-managers-participating-in-discussions

Photo 1: – VNPF Managers Participating in discussions

 

vnpf-team-leaders-doing-their-activites

Photo 2:  VNPF Team Leaders doing their activities

 

Business Resilience Training & Climate Finance Tradeshow 

Vanuatu becomes World Leader on Private Sector Climate Change Finance Engagement 20 April 2018 – Port Vila- Vanuatu

Vanuatu has become the first country in the Pacific to host a tradeshow linking the private sector with Government and international climate change financiers with a goal to enhance relationship between Vanuatu’s private sector and accredited entities to major climate funds and promote private – public relationships.

Co-hosted by the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change facilitated by 11 accredited entities, delivery partners and donor partner agencies, and attended by over 180 Vanuatu private sector participants the tradeshow saw a large turnout.

The Tradeshow was jointly funded by the Global Green Growth Institute, the DFAT/GIZ Climate Finance Readiness in the Pacific (CFRP) project and the GIZ-Vanuatu GCF-Readiness Project.

Vanuatu’s least developed country status, its geographical location in the path of severe tropical cyclones, the cycles of El Nino and La Nina, which, respectively, increase the risks of droughts and floods, and its exposure to earthquake, tsunamis and volcano risks combined, have made the United Nations University rank Vanuatu as the #1 most vulnerable nation on earth.

Vanuatu’s private sector has taken the lead in climate change programming through the establishment of the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC) under the auspices of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Glen Craig, The Chairman of the VBRC stated “the objectives of our organization are to support businesses to build their resilience to climate change and disasters, including their engagement in emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts. This was an important step towards this goal and I thank DG Benjamin especially for engaging with the Private Sector.”

The Private Sector Climate Finance Tradeshow, held in April 2018 in Port Vila, Vanuatu provided a platform for Vanuatu’s businesses to showcase, directly to climate donors and accredited entities, their potential contributions, services and products towards sustainable, effective and transformative climate change projects.

Kick starting the day-long event, the Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change, Mr. Jesse Benjamin confirmed that “the Government has a strong policy mandate to utilize and support private sector agencies for climate change action.” He commended the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry for their foresighted and proactive approach to ensuring Vanuatu’s most vulnerable, get the support they need for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Importantly, Director General Benjamin, also the Nationally Designated Authority to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, requested that donors and accredited entities must directly and meaningfully engage Vanuatu’s private sector for all upcoming major climate change initiatives.

The tradeshow marked the first time Vanuatu’s private sector were able to come face-to-face with nearly all of the accredited entities to major climate funds that are operating in the Pacific. With presentations from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Save the Children (SCA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) private sector stakeholders were amazing to learn of the over 400 million USD worth of climate projects being planned for Vanuatu over the coming years.

Astrid Boulekone, General Manager of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry reflected that, “our private sector made a very strong call to utilize local expertise rather than expensive foreign technical advisors and consultants for climate projects, ranging from agricultural expertise, to recycling, logistics, renewable energy, biofuels, to logistics, telecommunications, food and nutrition, environmental stewardship and waste management.”

According to Henry Vira, GIZ Coordinator in Vanuatu, “the most exciting part of the Tradeshow was the roundtable discussions, where real actionable steps were devised by accredited entities and private sector stakeholders to enhance their engagement.”

Coral Pasisi, Regional Adviser for Pacific of the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund was delighted to learn about the Vanuatu Private Sector Climate Finance Tradeshow and noted that Vanuatu’s approaches to private sector engagement is a best practice that will be shared with others in the region and globally.”

For more information on how to get involved in private sector climate change initiatives, contact the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee Coordinator, Eliu Luen on [email protected] or email.

 

Australian’s to ‘go nuts’ for new Vanuatu Coconut Oil

In response to an overwhelming number of requests, Vanuatu’s leading Certified Organic Coconut Oil producer has expanded its export portfolio to now include Australia.

Tanna Farms has delivered its first batch of Coconut Oil to Australian shores this month (April 2018) and is excited by the response so far.

Tanna Farms Director, Jono Bushell, said people have been asking for the Coconut Oil to be available in Australia for a long time, and now the company can deliver.

“Tourists who visit Vanuatu get a taste for our pure, unrefined, cold pressed Coconut Oil and take it home with them. They then want it again and again,” he said. “For so long now, we have had to say ‘no’, but now we can get the Coconut Oil to Australians and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Mr Bushell said that their company story and ethos resonates with everyone who takes the time to learn about Tanna Farms and its history.

“Our Coconut Oil is produced by hand – not a mechanised method. All the ‘hands’ required to create the oil, of course, means employment,” said Mr Bushell. “Each time you purchase a Tanna Farms product you are directly supporting the communities of Vanuatu. All proceeds earned from Coconut Oil sales are poured directly straight back into the company to help continue to build a sustainable business for years to come.”

“People also like the fact that they’re supporting their fellow Pacific neighbours,” he said. “Vanuatu is just a short 3-hour flight from Australia’s east coast, so the Coconut Oil doesn’t travel huge distances.”

Tanna Farms Coconut Oil is certified organic – accredited by BioGro New Zealand. It is raw, unrefined, cold pressed, chemical free and pure which means it’s not only good for your food but good for your skin too – there is a place for this oil in your kitchen and your bathroom.

Distribution of the Coconut Oil is already underway in Victoria and available nationwide online at www.tannafarms.com.vu. The Tanna Farms team is looking to work with distributors in other states and welcome distribution and stockist inquiries.

Plastic Ban in Vanuatu, VCCI AGM 30th April, Opportunity for Pacific Agro-SMEs to grow their Business: Innovation Grant Facility and Other News.

Plastic Ban in Vanuatu

What to do in Vanuatu: the case of Azure Pure Water outlines the need for businesses to work together to share knowledge, experience and business costs to deal efficiently and effectively with the plastic ban in the country.

Azure Pure Water has been Vanuatu’s premier bottled water supplier for 23 years.

The business is currently owned by Shaun Gilchrist and Yael Sakker, and employs 40-50 ni-Vanuatu staff depending on seasonal demand. More than 50% of these employees are women.

On the 1st August 2017, Azure established Vanuatu’s only plastic bottle buy-back and recycling scheme, “Give Me 5”, to help address the growing issue of plastic waste in Vanuatu. This program was established in recognition of Azure Pure Water’s responsibility as a manufacturer to be working to achieve viable and sustainable solutions for the management of waste produced, for the benefit of our country and our environment.

In February 2018, Azure Pure Water and World Vision Vanuatu launched a 3 year partnership to expand and re-invent the economics of plastic recycling in Vanuatu, with the goal of creating a circular economy where plastic waste is recovered as a practical resource to generate economic opportunities for individuals and communities through waste management, creation of new raw materials, and the transformation of these raw materials into new products, including handicrafts and common household items.

This partnership sees Azure’s existing “Give Me 5” scheme working with World Vision’s Waste Not Want Not program to reach urban and peri-urban communities, including those surrounding the current landfill site on Efate at Etas, and creating and highlighting opportunities for revenue generation from waste through public education, mentoring of targeted community groups, and investment in small scale transformative technologies and techniques, which will be both commercially sourced and local developed.

Azure Pure Water is interested in funding assistance for the development of recycling technologies suitable for the “Vanuatu context”, and product development. Azure Pure Water is also interested in partnerships with other organisations/businesses who are keen to work together to achieve a common goal of effective waste management and decreased plastic pollution in Pacific Island countries.

You can contact Yael Sakker to discuss their project further by email [email protected] or by phone tel 27461 or mob 5547403, website www.azure.vu

 

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, and 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.

For more information on Council candidacy by industry sector or to confirm your attendance, you can contact VCCI Reception by email [email protected] or call tel 27543, mob 7123967.

 

Opportunity for Pacific Agro-SMEs to grow their Business: Innovation Grant Facility (IGF) Call for applications

The Innovation Grant Facility (IGF) provides funding to agro-based small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in seven Pacific Island States; Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu to access knowledge, technologies or expertise and build staff capacity to improve product quality, expand product offerings, enhance process efficiency, increase market share or competitiveness.

Maximum amount per grant award is Euro 17,000 (≈ USD 20,000). Which is roughly 2 Million Vatu.

Who can apply?

SMEs contributing, directly or indirectly, to the sustainable development of the agriculture & fishery sectors with a focus on the development and/or upgrading of nutritionally, culturally & environmentally sensitive local food crops & fisheries value chains in the seven target countries.

Priority will be given to SMEs who can demonstrate that the grant will be used to directly or indirectly benefit smallholder farmers, rural farming communities and disadvantaged groups, youth and women

Criteria for Eligible SMEs

  • Registered in and fully or majority owned by citizens of Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
  • Be a legal entity (e.g. sole proprietorship, or limited liability or public company with maximum 20% government share).
  • Employ a minimum of three full time equivalent staff members and/or has a minimum annual sales turnover of EUR 17,000 (USD ≈ 20,000). Approximately VT2,000,000
  • Can contribute at least 20% of the total project budget (cash and/or in-kind).

Examples of IGF funded activities

  • Facility design
  • Feasibility/market studies
  • Marketing plan or business plan development
  • Research and product development
  • Employee or business to business training
  • Laboratory testing & technical support
  • Small equipment purchase (< Euro 2,500 ≈ USD 2,940)

Note to Applicants

  1. All applicants are required to complete and submit the official IGF Application Form using the templates available for download within the stated deadline.
  2. The service provider(s) selected by the SMEs should have the necessary expertise and be registered in the IGF database
  3. All IGF funded activities are to be completed within 12 months.

The completed application, originals and copies, must be received in hard-copy at PIPSO, Level 1 Korobasaga House, 31 Gorrie Street, Suva, Fiji and an electronic copy of all documents (PDF, Word and Excel format) must be scanned and sent to the following email address – [email protected] on /or before the deadline 25 April 2018.

Contact VCCI on [email protected] to get an application form and or website link to your email address.

Private and Public Sectors Strengthen Collaborations for Increased Resilience

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (April 13, 2018) – Public and private sector stakeholders in Melanesian countries have been encouraged to strategically use their collective strength to develop practical resilience approaches, and take advantage of opportunities that the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November represents.Speaking to participants representing the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) National Designated Authority (NDA), the private sector, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat, Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Hon. John Pundari said he would be facilitating a dialogue during the APEC Summit around realistic economic and financial approaches to the Pacific region’s climate change-related issues.

“Human security is of utmost importance to our region, and especially our Pacific region. Developing guidelines and building resilience of economies and businesses to help deal with climate change and disasters are some of the ways to safeguard our security,” Mr Pundari said.

“The APEC is the perfect opportunity to address this particular challenge…our world is in fact getting smaller. I will take it upon myself to facilitate a dialogue that will help us address our sub-region and regional challenges. It is in opportunities such as the APEC meeting, where the values of dialogue and cooperation are appreciated to bring people, businesses and economies more closely together.”

Mr Pundari said he looked forward to the outcomes of the workshop, as they would form the supporting basis of the decisions that Pacific leaders make on this issue of accessing climate finance for private sector in the Pacific, and fostering public-private partnerships on climate change.

Mr Pundari and the USAID Health Advisor (Pacific Islands) Dr. Jorge Velasco officially opened the one-day workshop attended by 40 participants from Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and USAID’s Climate Ready Project through Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) convened the workshop in Port Moresby, in collaboration with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Dr. Velasco said “a shared approach” by governments and the private sector was essential in addressing threats brought on by extreme weather and disasters in Pacific island communities. The Government of the United States had supported Papua New Guinea’s Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) to secure more than $1million Kina from the GCF to strengthen the agency’s role as the country’s NDA.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Deputy Secretary-General, Cristelle Pratt said climate change and resilient development was now a prominent agenda for Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, which was being mainstreamed through national development plans and strategies across the region.

Ms Pratt discussed the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP), endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2016, which outlined an integrated approach to addressing climate change and disaster risk management considerations for resilient and sustainable development.

“Central to this (FRDP) approach is the inclusion of all stakeholders that will need to make up the Pacific Resilience Partnership group, including the private sector (which) will play a key role in building the resilience of our (Forum) Members and communities,” Ms Pratt said.

“More importantly, the private sector represents a key engine for economic development and growth for Forum Members therefore the private sector needs to play a strengthened role in climate change and disaster risk management policy development and access to climate and disaster risk finance.”

Ms Pratt spoke of a critical gap in information sharing and coordination, both between public and private sectors and amongst the private sector themselves; she called on private sector actors to insert their positions in climate change and disaster risk management policy development, and consider ways of accessing climate and disaster risk finance.

Private sector participants from the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu shared examples of domestic public-private partnerships in low-carbon and resilient community-based development projects.   GCF NDA representatives updated participants with their respective national progress, reiterating their preparedness to support projects including those still in the pipelines and those around national policy development that would assist private sector investment in climate change actions.

Andreas Lunding, the representative of the GCF Private Sector Facility shared valuable information about the Facility particularly the new Simplified Approvals Process (SAP) that can be accessed for private sector small-scale projects.

Mr Lunding added that the GCF was actively working to strengthen the engagement between the NDAs, private sector and Accredited Entities (AEs) through regional dialogues targeting private sector engagement and country programming, to show private sector opportunities.

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