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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.

For more information, please email [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Brainstorm the Future of the Chamber of Commerce 12 April 2018

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

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

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

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

 

VCCI AGM 2018 on 30 April

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

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

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

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

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

 

Three Vanuatu companies at PTI’s Pasifika Business Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – being well organised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show 5 April 2018 and Other News

PRIVATE SECTOR CLIMATE FINANCE TRADE SHOW 5 APRIL 2018

This is a reminder that the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC), a standing committee of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the National Advisory Board (NAB) of the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change will host the first Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show on Thursday 5 April 2018 at Le Lagon Resort, Port Vila, Vanuatu from 7.30am to 3pm.

 

VBRC is seeking private sector/business owners interested in climate finance:

 

Ø  Do you have a climate change idea requiring funding?

 

Ø  Are you implementing climate friendly solutions into your business?

 

Ø  Are you assisting businesses, communities or Government with climate readiness solutions?

 

It could be in: Tourism, Agriculture, Forestry, Banking, Insurance, Shipping, Renewable Energy, Bio Energy, Bio Fuel, Recycling, Water, Construction, Education or Consultancy.

The Pacific region’s first Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show will provide 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.

The one-day Trade-Show is part of the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee’s goal to allow micro, small and medium enterprises operating in Vanuatu to showcase their capacities and service directly to local, regional and international entities that are accredited to administer multi-million dollar climate finance projects across the Pacific region.

The Trade Show will be to encourage Accredited Entities & GCF Readiness Delivery Partners and project developers of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other major sources of climate finance, to utilize wherever possible the services products and expertise of Vanuatu’s private sector stakeholders in order to maximize project outcomes and climate transformation. At present Vanuatu has a healthy GCF project pipeline and it is essential that private sector actors are considered to effectively and sustainably implement these programs. The Trade Show will bring these relevant actors together with the belief that no one sector in society can deliver the complexities of sustainable development and climate resilience alone.

With the plastic ban impacting negatively the future of local businesses in Vanuatu from July 2018, it is timely to attend this event and learn more about what funds are available and how they can be accessible for businesses engaged in dealing with this major issue, with climate change business project proposals in order to look for alternative tools and solutions to survive.

This is the first time ever for a Pacific Island Country to host such an event. Accredited entities in 1 place, giving you the What, Where, When, How and Who to Access Climate Finance. You got to be insane to miss this. Spaces are running out so fast you think its Bolt. So hurry and book your space.

It is IMPORTANT that you book and register now for the Climate Finance Trade Show day. For more information or to register and receive the agenda contact Eliu Luen, Coordinator, Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee, Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce, email [email protected] or phone 27543 and 7713131.

Financial literacy training improves capacity of trainees

A financial literacy training was held this week for handicrafts business owners of Mahitahi Handicrafts and Haus blong Handikrafs in Vanuatu.

The training was organised by the Australia and New Zealand-funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program as part of the ‘Building Voices for Women’s Leadership’ pilot project.

The pilot project was developed in partnership with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Bank South Pacific BSP and the Department of Industry (Made in Vanuatu initiative). Through the pilot project, capacity-building initiatives like the financial literacy training are being delivered to help women acquire better understanding of how to manage their finances. The training is also a step towards improving their capacity to participate in, contribute to and benefit from economic growth.

PHAMA’s gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) advisor Chris Sahin said women who attended the training were eager to implement what they had learned over the four-day training.

“We learnt this week that 100% of the trainees plan to use their handicraft business profits for their children’s schooling, family food and household costs, increased health care and savings for the expansion of their businesses, future family needs and rainy days,” she said.

“Many of the mamas attending the training are single parents, widows and grandmothers who support their children and grandchildren. There were many talented young people and 10% of trainees were men.

“Gender equity is about opportunity and access for all. The trainees were very excited to attend the first week of training and are already planning how to better lead their businesses and contribute to their community in other leadership roles,” said Sahin.

Another activity has been planned for next week that will focus on developing business leadership skills.

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program is an Australian Government initiative, co-funded by the New Zealand Government. PHAMA is designed to help Pacific island countries better manage and utilise opportunities to export primary products including fish and forestry products. Australia and New Zealand are markets of major importance, along with export markets beyond the Pacific. The core countries assisted through PHAMA are Fiji, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. PHAMA is implemented on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Governments by AECOM in association with Kalang.

For further information, contact Rebecca Bogiri at [email protected] or on + 678 7736016

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs – New Products and Services

 

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 new products and services.

Like many things in life we have to keep our businesses up-to-date, relevant and modern if we are going to attract new customers and stay ahead of our competition.

There are a number of challenges for business owners when considering new ideas and services including:

  • What new ideas?
  • How much will they cost?
  • How do I know they will work?
  • Why change, I’m happy as I am now!
  • I am too busy to think about anything new – I just haven’t got the time.
  • My staff won’t have the skills.

When thinking about a new business idea or service, take time to think about options and try to build on what you do already.  It is usually better and cheaper to build new ideas on what we are already doing rather than try something totally new.  Something new will always cost more, may require more resources and marketing and staff may need totally different training.  Have a look at what your competitors are doing and ask your customers!!  Their feedback might save you a lot of money.

You might need to brainstorm your idea with others – bounce the ideas around with friends, colleagues or a mentor.  What evidence do you have that there is a market for your new idea or service?  Do you have the skills and attitudes to make it work?

Whenever you introduce something new you do not know if it will work so treat it as an investment.  Set a trial period. Actively promote the new product or service and ask for feedback from staff and customers.

We can never be too busy not to think about the future – if you do not do it your competition will!  Exploring new ideas and services is an essential part of business planning.  It is called ‘being proactive’.  Reactive businesses only ever react when something happens and usually after the event. Being proactive means taking charge and creating your own future. It requires us to think creatively and be prepared to take risks.  We have to run our businesses with our eyes wide open. Profitable businesses are proactive businesses – they are businesses that think ahead and are willing to invest in something new even if, at the beginning, it is unproven.

When thinking about new ideas and services think about the business itself – are there little changes you could make that would bring in more customers?  Do you communicate well enough with your customers? Do you ask them what they want from you?

Developing new ideas and new services presents us with huge opportunities – we can involve our staff in a different way, we can involve our customers, we can learn new ideas ourselves, we can make the changes we have always wanted to but never quite for round to it!

Once you have made the change you must make sure your staff are properly trained and that you tell everyone!  Use technology to spread the word – create a new ideas Facebook page.  Be proud of your new product or service!!

If you need help with exploring new products or services 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 

eTrade Readiness Assessment for Vanuatu from 26 to 28 March 2018, Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show 5 April 2018 and Other News.

eTrade Readiness Assessment for Vanuatu from 26 to 28 March 2018

This is an invitation to any interested Businesses to participate in a Focus Discussion Group (FDG) meeting on eTrade Readiness Assessment conducted by Mr Fred Samuel, the National Consultant of eTrade Readiness Assessment for Vanuatu, under the Ministry of Tourism Trade in conjunction with the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTD).

This FDG meeting will gather groups of different key stakeholders such as public sector, private sector and civil society respectively to get their views about the priorities, constraints and issues facing the e-commerce ecosystem in Vanuatu.

To make e-commerce work for development requires a holistic approach as well as a stronger private-public policy dialogue. The eTrade for all initiative aims at addressing existing knowledge gaps and maximizing synergies with partners.

This initiative seeks to raise awareness, enhance synergies, and increase the scale of existing and new efforts by the development community to strengthen the ability of developing countries to engage in and benefit from e-commerce by addressing seven relevant policy areas:

  • E-commerce readiness assessment and strategy formulation
  • E-commerce skills development
  • ICT infrastructure and services
  • Legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Access to financing
  • Payment solutions
  • Trade logistics and trade facilitation

Therefore three different sessions stated below which you might want to attend all or chose to attend one as follows:-

  1. Policy Area: E-Commerce Vision and e-commerce strategy, ICT Infrastructure and services, Legal and Regulatory Environment
Date: Monday 26th March, 2018
Time:   1:30 – 4:30pm.
Venue: Ministry of Trades conference room
2.  Policy Area: Access to Financing and Payment Solutions
Date: 27th March, 2018
Time:   1:30 – 4:30pm
Venue: Ministry of Trades conference room
3.  Policy Area: Trade Logistics and Trade Facilitation
Date:  Wednesday 28th March 2018
Time: 8:30am – 12pm
Venue: Ministry of Trades conference room
Any interested businesses wishing to attend the meeting can contact VCCI Reception to confirm their attendance by email [email protected] or contact 27543 / 7123967.

Come and see if your business will survive the July 1st plastics ban

VCCI, Fine Foods and K2 would like to invite the Kiwi Business group, Ni Vanuatu, Australian, French and Chinese businesses who are facing challenges in the new Waste management or plastic ban Act and Regulations. Yael Sakker and Shaun Gilchrist of Azure Pure Water are leading the way with some interesting work. In support, World Vision is co- funding some work. As an added bonus, we have a guest speaker, a movie director who won awards for his documentary on plastics.

This invitation is supported by VCCI, Fine Foods, and K2:

Where – K2, opposite Salili Store after TIVR timber on the road to Mele

When – Wednesday 28th March 2018

Time – 5-7pm

Guest speaker 10 minutes

Plenty of time to ask questions and network.

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

 

Venez et voyez si votre entreprise va survivre le 1er juillet lors de l’interdiction des plastiques

La CCIV, Fine Foods et K2 souhaiteraient inviter, le groupe des affaires Kiwis, les entreprises vanuataises, australiennes, chinoises, françaises et autres nationalités, qui sont confrontés à des défis dans la nouvelle gestion des déchets ou de la loi et règlementation sur l’interdiction des plastiques. Yael Sakker et Shaun Gilchrist d’Azur Pure Water ont initié un travail intéressant sur ce problème avec l’appui de World Vision, qui est co-financier dans ce projet. De plus, nous avons un orateur invité, un directeur de film qui a gagné des prix pour son documentaire sur les plastiques.

Cette invitation est soutenue par la CCIV, Fine Foods, et K2 :

Où ? K2 – en face de Salili Store après TIVR Timber sur la route de Mélé

Quand – Mercredi 28 mars 2018

Heure – 17h

Orateur invité 10 minutes

Du temps pour poser des questions et faire du réseau d’affaires.

Pour plus d’informations, vous pouvez contacter la Réception CCIV by email [email protected] ou tél 27543.

Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show 5 Aril 2018

The Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC), a standing committee of VCCI, and the NDA/National Advisory Board (NAB) of the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change will host a three day event on 4, 5 and 6 April 2018 focused on the private sector which will include a 1-day Training on Business Resilience, a 1-day Trade Show on Climate Finance and a 1 day Private Sector and VBRC meeting with Accredited Entities at Le Lagon Resort, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Day 1: Introduction to Business Resilience Workshop 4 April

The workshop will provide SMEs with a comprehensive introduction to business resilience, including disaster risk assessment, and planning to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster – business continuity planning.  After the training, SMEs should be able to do a basic risk assessment and develop basic preparation, response and recovery plans. This workshop is attended on invitation basis only.

Day 2: Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show 5 April 

VBRC is seeking private sector/business owners interested in climate finance:

Do you have a climate change idea requiring funding?

Are you implementing climate friendly solutions into your business?

Are you assisting businesses, communities or Government with climate readiness solutions?

It could be in: Tourism, Agriculture, Forestry, Banking, Insurance, Shipping, Renewable Energy, Bio Energy, Bio Fuel, Recycling, Water, Construction, Education or Consultancy.

  The Pacific region’s first Private Sector Climate Finance Trade Show will provide 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.  

The one-day Trade-Show is part of the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee’s goal to allow micro, small and medium enterprises operating in Vanuatu to showcase their capacities and service directly to local, regional and international entities that are accredited to administer multi-million dollar climate finance projects across the Pacific region.

The Trade Show will be to encourage Accredited Entities & GCF Readiness Delivery Partners and project developers of the Green Climate Fund and other major sources of climate finance, to utilize wherever possible the services products and expertise of Vanuatu’s private sector stakeholders in order to maximize project outcomes and climate transformation. At present Vanuatu has a healthy GCF project pipeline and it is essential that private sector actors are considered to effectively and sustainably implement these programs.  The Trade-Show will bring these relevant actors together with the belief that no one sector in society can deliver the complexities of sustainable development and climate resilience alone.

It is IMPORTANT that you book and register for the Climate Finance Trade Show day. For more information or to register and receive the agenda contact Eliu Luen, Coordinator, Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee, Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce, email [email protected] or phone 27543 and 7713131.

 

Air Vanuatu and Solomon Airline Customer Service Training

“Customer is our Boss”

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry through its Business Development Service Unit has just completed effective customer service training with the Air Vanuatu and Solomon Airlines staffs.

There were 32 participants in total for this training. The training was dispersed into two groups, the first group commenced on the 6th of March and ended on the 8th of March and the second group started on the 13th and finished on the 15th of March. All participants have received their statement of completion right after they have completed their training.

Participants were from the Air Vanuatu flight support division team, call center division team, Vila sales team, Tanna sales team, Santo sales team as well as Solomon Airline flight support division team and Human Resource Division representative.

There were many topics discussed during the training but some of the key topics discussed during that training were to understand the Airline Services, Importance of personality in the workplace, Understanding your external customers and your internal customers and their importance in the Customer Service of the Airline, diagnostic of staff personal customer service skills, and also deeper understanding of the current customer service situation in the Airline and Identifying ways on how loop holes in their current customer service skills can be improved.

This training assisted the participants to get deeper understanding of their current customer service within the airline and diagnose the trends that require improvement both personally and on the job.

The training was very interactive as it allows two way communications between trainers and participants. There were various types of happenings, activities, open discussions and games done during the duration of the training to enhance clarity in customer service experiences.

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 the customer service skills within their different work division in Air Vanuatu and Solomon Airline.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce has a very proactive Business Development Service Unit that is always available to help business houses in terms of trainings 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 .

CALL FOR PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECT PROPOSALS UNDER 11th EDF and Other News

CALL FOR PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECT PROPOSALS UNDER 11th EDF

For Vanuatu Businesses involve in Micro Small Medium Enterprises, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as the Regional Focal Point on issues relating to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS), wishes to inform Members that fully fledged light structure has now been established at the ACP Secretariat to administer the effective implementation of the PSDS.

The implementation of the PSDS is currently going through the programming phase, to draw down the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) resources under intra-ACP envelope earmarked for private sector development activities. To this effect, the ACP Secretariat has initiated a call for project proposal submissions under the private sector development umbrella. Members and relevant technical agencies are encouraged to strictly follow the template guidelines in preparation of their project proposals.

The project proposals should fall within at least 1 of the 4 Pillars of the ACP Private Sector Development Strategy as follows:-

  1.  Financial inclusion – €130,000,000 earmarked for this pillar;
  2. Financial inclusion – €50,000,000 earmarked for this pillar;
  3. Strengthening access to financing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises – €400,000,000 earmarked for this pillar; and
  4. ACP Private sector development knowledge management – €20,000,000 earmarked for this pillar

Time lines for Proposal Submissions Dateline for project proposal submissions to the ACP Secretariat is 30 March 2018. Members and relevant technical agencies are invited to send to the Forum Secretariat suggestions for initiatives relating to private sector development that require region-wide efforts.

All suggestions for regional projects need to reach PIFS by 23 March 2018. Suggestions should be sent to Ms Glynis Miller, via email: [email protected] The Forum Secretariat will then prepare the relevant proposals for submission to the ACP Secretariat.

For any enquiries relating to the ACP PSDS, please contact Ms Glynis Miller, Trade Development Officer, via email: [email protected] or telephone: + 679 3312600.

The template guidelines project proposals for EDF 11 is available from the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Any businesses can get it from the VCCI by email at [email protected]  or call by phone on 27543 and mobile phone 712 3967.

 

Be part of Australasia’s Largest Food Exhibition 2018

Pacific Island based exporters are invited to be part of Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s Pacific Showcase at Fine Food Australia 2018 from 10 to 13 September 2018, Australia’s premier food exhibition.

PTI Australia will host a delegation of eight Pacific Island food exporters at this trade-only event.

To express your interest in being part of PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase at Fine Food Australia 2018 submit your application form by Friday, 30 March 2018.

Fine Foods Australia is Australia’s largest exhibition for the food and beverage industry. An international trade show showcasing the latest innovations in food, beverages and equipment. It brings together serious buyers and sellers over four busy days, and is the leading food event for Australasia.

In 2017, eight Pacific Island exporters took part in PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase where over 19,500 visitors attended the trade show providing valuable sales leads and market insights to the businesses involved.

Fine Food Australia was Azure Water’s first experience at an international trade show. Shaun Gilchrist, CEO, Azure Pure Water, Yaeli Sakker, Director of Sales and Marketing with their team made the voyage to introduce the flavours of Vanuatu Water to the Australian market.

Mr Gilchrist said being part of the PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase was a valuable opportunity.

The team from Azure Pure Water at PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase, Fine Food Australia 2017.

“We feel very honoured to have represented Vanuatu at PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase. It’s been an amazing experience, we have had great feedback on our water from buyers and more importantly great leads that we can follow up. As a small pacific enterprise it would have been extremely difficult to be part of such a large trade show on our own. We are really thankful to PTI Australia for providing this platform for us. Bringing enterprises together from across the Pacific also strengthened our presence at the show.”

PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase provides the ideal platform for Pacific Island exporters to attract and connect with Australian and international buyers.

Jeremy Grennell, General Manager Exports, PTI Australia said it was an amazing opportunity to generate valuable leads and exports sales.

“It is a fantastic platform for Pacific Island exporters to promote their premium niche products, with thousands of visitors each day of the trade-show, delegates will be able promote their products to a captive audience as well as have the opportunity to see first-hand the global competition. I urge exporters to apply and take advantage of this opportunity.”

For more information, please contact Jeremy Grennell, General Manager Exports, PTI Australia, email: [email protected]

Opportunity to showcase Jewellery internationally

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) wishes to advise that the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia are constantly looking for ways that can facilitate opportunities for businesses in international markets.

Their inaugural PTI Australia Pacific Showcase at the Sydney International Jewellery Fair in 2017 received great feedback and they will host a Pacific delegation for the Jewellery fair to be held from Saturday 25 – Monday 27 August 2018 in Sydney, Australia.

This is an amazing platform for jewellers to showcase their work and gems to international buyers.

Expressions of interests to be part of PTI Australia’s Pacific Showcase at the Sydney International Jewellery Fair is open.

Applications close on Friday 15 June 2018.

Any businesses interested to benefit from this opportunity can contact Mona Kenneth Mato, Export Services Manager, Tel +61 2 9290 2133, Email [email protected], and Website www.pacifictradeinvest.com

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs Marketing & Competition

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 marketing and competition.

One major challenge for businesses, especially smaller ones, is not to be a well-kept secret!  It is easy to put all our effort into creating the business and forget about the need to sell what we are doing to others.

Marketing presents a number of challenges to SMEs – to do it effectively we need confidence, time and persistence.  We do not necessarily need to spend lots of money or to create expensive marketing materials.

We need to be clear who we are selling to and have simple strategies to reach them – no SME is marketing to the whole world!  Target your marketing efforts!  If you are selling a product or service to school children then work out how you are going to get your message to them.  To do that effectively we must really know and understand our market – who are they, how do they think, what needs do they have that my business can satisfy?  That means we must invest time – time that is used to effectively market our business needs to be seen as an investment in the future.

Some business owners feel unsure about marketing so they might do nothing or ask someone to do it for them. If you do use a third party, maybe to write brochures or create a website, make sure they really understand you and your business and work alongside them.

When marketing your business ask yourself, ‘how do we stand out in the crowd’?  You need to find your USP – your unique selling proposition – something that you have or do that no-one else has or does.  It is hard to market if you are the same as all the businesses around you.  It might be something quite small or the difference might be you and your people.

When planning your own marketing strategy start by looking at what your competitors are doing.  Competition is good in that it keeps us focused and alert, but we do need to understand it and we need to know how our competitors might be better than us.  We can’t do that by ignoring them!

The more successful you are in running your business the more competitors you are likely to have – success breeds success.  Others will want what you have!  Don’t let competition frighten you.  Use it to help you improve to be the best you can be. Sometimes you might turn a competitor into a collaborator and join forces on specific issues or activities.

If a customer approaches you with a query that you can’t satisfy then be prepared to tell them where to go to get what they want, even if it is to a competitor. The chances are that the customer will remember that act of kindness and come back to you in the future.

SMEs need each other – we are not big enough or have enough resources to do everything on our own. Work with others to create joint marketing plans – two heads are always better than one!

Finally, we need to overcome the challenge of having the confidence to promote ourselves.  In the Pacific we tend towards being quiet and unassuming but if we have a good product or service then we must tell others.  If we tell others and they like it then they will tell others and do your marketing for you!

If you need help with marketing or understanding your competition 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 

 

Meet the Sustainable Maintenance Association from New Caledonia, The Private Sector in Cluster Groupings and Other News

Meet the Sustainable Maintenance Association from New Caledonia

This is a reminder that the AMD or Sustainable Maintenance Association from New Caledonia will be at VCCI in Port Vila on Friday 16 March 2018 to meet the businesses of Vanuatu which would have issues in maintenance (the ones that have needs in maintenance and those that offer services in maintenance but may be more with resources problems) to identify how it will be able to accompany these businesses in their competencies and capacity building. AMD positions itself both from the clients side and the service providers side.

The purpose of visit of AMD in Vanuatu is actually to forge a link with the Government of Vanuatu, particularly with the Ministry of Education of Vanuatu, in the field of training by offering their platform of businesses as a possible place of training to Ni Vanuatu employees and/or students in New Caledonia.

The AMD delegation compostion is as follows:

Mr Jean Patrick LERANDY : AMD president

Mr Christian BAUJARD : C2B Sagees (Generators and electricity HT)

Mr Eric PROUS : EAS (water management)

Mr David RIZET-BLANCHER : BERG Engineering (mechanical engineering and proceeds)

Mr Olivier SALAVERT : Speed Services (anti-corrosion treatment)

Mr Olivier GAUTIER : NSME (electrical maintenance)

Mrs Aurore REYNAUD : Ecoblast (anti-corrosion treatment)

Mrs Emilia HENIN : Socabelt (maintenance,feeder)

Mr Roderick CREUGNET : OMI (mechanical maintenance)

Mrs Sylvie D’USSEL : AMD Cluster Manager

Come to meet AMD and New Caledonian businesses at VCCI Conference Room on Friday 16 March from 10am to 12pm. Click here to view draft Agenda.

For more information and to confirm your attendance, you can contact VCCI Reception at VCCI by phone 27543 or by email [email protected]

Rencontrer l’Association Maintenance Durable de Nouvelle- Calédonie

Ceci est un rappel, l’AMD de Nouvelle-Calédonie sera à la CCI du Vanuatu á Port Vila le vendredi 16 mars 2018 pour rencontrer les entreprises du Vanuatu ayant des problématiques en maintenance (celle qui ont besoin de maintenance et celles qui offrent des prestations en maintenance mais peut être plus alors avec des problèmes de ressources) pour identifier comment elle pourra accompagner ces entreprises dans leur montée en compétences. L’AMD se place à la fois côté clients et côté prestataires.

Le but de déplacement de l’AMD au Vanuatu est effectivement de tisser un lien avec le gouvernement, auprès du Ministère de l’Education du Vanuatu, dans le domaine de la formation en offrant leur plateforme d’entreprises comme possible lieu de formation auprès de salariés et/ou étudiants vanuatais en Nouvelle-Calédonie.

La composition de la délégation de l’AMD est la suivante:

M. Jean Patrick LERANDY : président AMD

M. Christian BAUJARD : C2B Sagees (groupes électrogènes et électricité HT)

M. Eric PROUS : EAS (gestion de l’eau)

M. David RIZET-BLANCHER : BERG Engineering (ingénierie mécanique et procédés)

M. Olivier SALAVERT : Speed Services (traitement anti corrosion)

M. Olivier GAUTIER : NSME (maintenance électrique)

Mme Aurore REYNAUD : Ecoblast (traitement anti corrosion)

Mme Emilia HENIN : Socabelt (maintenance convoyeur)

M. Roderick CREUGNET : OMI (maintenance mécanique)

Mme Sylvie D’USSEL : Cluster Manager AMD

Venez rencontrer l’AMD et les entreprises calédoniennes á la CCIV Salle de conférence le vendredi 16 mars de 10h à 12h. Cliquez ici pour lire le projet d’ordre du jour.

Pour plus d’informations et confirmer votre présence, veuillez contacter la Réception de la CCIV au tél 27543 ou par email [email protected]

 

The Private Sector in Cluster Groupings

The Private Sector is a very important actor in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) activities. Cyclone Pam brought deaths throughout the Private Sector, with a discriminatory attitude to Medium, Small and Micro businesses. Therefore like humans, the Private Sector is part of the community and is actively engaged in response and recovery initiatives.

The Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC) which is the CCDRR arm of the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), is working its way to participate in as much Cluster groupings, allowed. Currently its members are involved in the Food Security Agriculture Cluster (FSAC), Gender Protection Cluster and the Water Sanitation & Hygiene Cluster (WASH). Education, Telecommunications, Health & Nutrition, Logistics and Shelter, are clusters which VBRC still needs to request and establish a formal representative.

As far as FSAC is concerned, current progress is geared at the Ambae Volcano Response Plans. These plans are to address long term, Food Security and Agriculture livelihoods recovery and rehabilitation, resilience and adaptation. The top urgent need includes safe and clean water for human and livestock consumption as well as watering seedlings. There is need for public awareness campaigns to encourage sea fishing, replanting, selling cattle to the Livestock Department, control animals destroying gardens, and setting up practical nurseries. Another important need is to have peer to peer trainings that will be led out by lead farmers and field extension officers.

Now that Tropical Cyclone Hola is hovering around Vanuatu, FSAC has already set up a working group to address response and recovery activities for affected areas. An appeal for involvement from the Private Sector is, if you can access information on the ground, in affected areas, please do channel it ASAP to this following addresses Risk & Resilience Unit (RRU) [email protected] and VCCI on [email protected] Photos and stories of people, gardens and livelihoods are appreciated.

A Consultants Opportunity in promoting Nutritious Foods Systems in Pacific Islands

In 2016, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched the four-year project “Leveraging the Development of Local Food Crops and Fisheries Value Chains for Improved Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems in the Pacific Islands” which is being implemented in partnership with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). The project targets seven Pacific Island States: Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The overall goal is to; “strengthen the capacity of the Pacific Island Governments, Farmer and Private Sector Organizations, and Sub-Regional institutions to develop strategies and programmes, as well as mobilize financing, that can increase poor rural people’s access to nutritious and healthy food”.

A consultant is needed to develop a gender toolkit in order to effectively monitor mainstreaming gender and women’s empowerment in agriculture-nutrition and value chain development in the CTA-IFAD-PIPSO project “Promoting Nutritious Food Systems in the Pacific Islands”.

Expertise required are previous experience in gender related research, training and other activities, sufficient knowledge of the sector of agriculture and value chain development. Nutrition will be an added value. Then knowledge of Pacific countries context and PIPSO, CTA and IFAD areas of work on gender will be an asset. Budget is set at USD 20,000.

The closing date for submissions of expressions of interest is close of business (Suva/Fiji time) on Friday 23 March 2018.

Contact is: Alisi Tuqa, email: [email protected]

Email header/subject line: Gender Agribusiness Consultancy March2018.

Hard copies can be delivered to PIPSO, Level 1 Korobasaga House, 31 Gorrie Street, Suva, Fiji (a usb containing e-submission to also be included). You can request a copy for the Terms of Reference from [email protected]

World Mosquito Program Information

The World Mosquito Program is a not for profit initiative, that is working to help protect communities in Vanuatu from denque, chikungunya and zika. The method is to use mosquitos inserted with a natural occurring bacteria (called WOLBACHIA), found in 60% of all insect species. It is safe for humans, animals and the environment. It is already tested in Australia, Indonesia, Brazil and Colombia. The launching of the Wolbachia program is happening this coming Friday the 16th of March 2018, at the Sea Front Stage at 9am. All are welcome to come and listen. Please click here to view and download the following brochure:

 

Surviving an emergency – plan ahead!

This is a short practical article on keeping our businesses going during and following a disaster.

We are used to keeping our car or vehicle engines tuned, we top up the oil, we try not to run out of petrol, we keep them clean, we have our cars serviced – if we don’t the vehicle breaks down, we use more fuel, it is inefficient, it will often let us down, it will not last as long, it will be a waste of money.

We need to apply the same thinking to our business. If we don’t tune up our business regularly we will lose money, we will lose staff, we will lose customers and market position, we will encourage our competitors to overtake us – we may even go out of business. This will be especially true following an emergency or disaster.

During this short series of articles Chris Elphick takes us through a service check for our business.

Today the focus is on business continuity following an emergency or disaster – part one.

While the next cyclone season is nearly here business owners have to be thinking ahead and asking ourselves one question – what can I do to be better prepared next time? Because we live in The Pacific we know that extreme weather-related events, and other crises, are part of our business environment yet often our planning does not take these into consideration. Also, business disasters are not only the well-publicised cyclones or tsunamis – fire destroys many businesses, health issues close many other, localised events can impact negatively on local businesses.

All business owners should be aiming to have resilient organisations. Resilience is not just about getting through crises – truly resilient organisations do what they can to prevent potential crises emerging and they have the ability to turn crises into a source of strategic opportunity.

Researchers in Christchurch, New Zealand after the 2010/2011 earthquakes, found that the most important factor in the survival of businesses after an emergency was the quality of the relationships owners had with their staff, customers and suppliers before the event!

Here are 12 easy steps to ensure your business is prepared to get through a disruption and get up and running again as quickly as possible – talk them through with your team and amend your planning activities – turn them into a business continuity plan. Do not wait for an emergency – it is too late then! Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail.

Before you start make sure that you and your staff all have an emergency plan for yourself and your family – if you are not at home if there is an emergency would your children know what to do? In an emergency event it is natural to expect that the first priority of your staff will be checking on the wellbeing of their family members.

 Step 1 Your core products and/ or services

What are the few key products/ services which are fundamental to the survival of your business – prioritise the three most important that are needed to keep the business operating.

Step 2 Essential roles and skills

There are tasks in your business that are fundamental to the delivery of the core products/ services identified in step 1. Identity the tasks essential to delivering them and the people capable of carrying out those tasks.

Step 3 Essential equipment

Identify the tools and equipment (including computer hardware and software) needed to deliver your core products/ services. What options do you have for getting replacement equipment? If you rely on specialist equipment how long would it take to get a replacement?

Step 4 Essential supplies

Identify the resources and supplies needed to create and deliver your core products/ services. What supply options do you have? Are there alternative supplies you could use?

NOTE: if you identify key people, equipment or supplies without alternatives, these are risks to your business and need to be addressed. How can you reduce your risks? Maybe start by making sure that staff are trained to provide back-up for different roles.

 Step 5 Relocation options

Are there any possible options where you could relocate your business? Could you share premises with others?

Step 6             Insurances

Consider what insurances are available and whether they will help improve the chances of your businesses’ survival in the event of a disruption

Step 7 Delegation of authority

If the owner is unable to run the business and make key decisions, someone needs to be able to step into their role. Identify one or two people who you would trust to run the business in your absence and make sure they have access to the information they need (e.g. to pay bills, wages etc.). Think about creating a Sensitive Business Information Register.

Step 8 Contact details

Make sure all relevant contact details are kept accessible – include staff, key customers, key suppliers, providers of alternative options, bank, insurance, utilities.

NOTE: During a disruption keep everyone informed – staff and customers – make sure they all know what is going on.

Step 9 Back up your business records

Identify your methods for backing up your business records and include login details and passwords. Make sure your computer data is backed up regularly. If you use a portable hard drive make sure you take it home every day!

Step 10           Save this plan

Make sure your business continuity plan is available to all key staff – on computer, wall, online, mobile phone!

Step 11           Emergency preparedness planning

Make sure everyone is aware of emergency procedures for the business (e.g. fire exits, evacuation and assembly points, emergency supplies) and for their homes and families. Talk about them in meetings

Step 12           Practice the plan

Everyone in the business must understand the business continuity plan and their role during a disruption. The best way for people to remember the plan is to practice it and then review it together! Then revise the plan.

Although a disruption could be a serious threat to your business it could also be seen as an opportunity to innovate or collaborate. How could your business grow from this experience?

Breadfruit Consulting have produced Be Prepared – a step-by-step disaster resilience planning guide for Pacific Island businesses – please contact me if you would like a copy and details of the workshops we run around the guide.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launching of Certificate III In Business (Micro Business Operations) and Finance (Accounting), Vanuatu Builders and Allied industries Council Bill Handing Over and Other News

Launching of Certificate III In Business (Micro Business  Operations) and Certificate III In Finance (Accounting)

“Come on! The product is ready….. Let’s Go!!!”

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) along with its respective key stakeholders set history when they launched the two accredited courses on the 20th of February 2018.

Certificate III in Finance (Accounting) and Certificate III in Business (Micro Business Operations) were  the focus of the selected stakeholders comprising of business owners, industry bodies, employers, community groups, government and training education representatives.

The Certificate III in Business is intended to train and develop individual competency on how to operate and manage a micro business. The Certificate III in Finance is intended to train and develop individual competency on how to develop accounting and book keeping and also how to manage finances for a small business.

Committed to the society with the regards to competency based trainings, the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) is proud to be the host institution for these qualifications in the country.

The classes for Certificate III in Finance will commence on the 26th of February 2018 while the Certificate III in Business class commencement date is yet to be confirmed.

Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) now invite anyone who is interested to take up this qualification to contact the office on +678 27543/ 7123967 or Email: [email protected]

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

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Picture 1: Launching of Certificate III.

Handing Over For Vanuatu Builders and Allied Industries Council Bill to Hon. Minister Of Internal Affairs

This is a milestone achievement in the making. The Vanuatu National Builders and Allied Industries Association (VANBAIA) met with the Honorable Minister of Internal Affairs on Thursday 22nd of February 2018 to hand over the BUILDING AND ALLIED INDUSTRY COUNCIL Draft Bill.

Minister Andrew Napuat welcomed the Association and took note of some of the grievances raised. He gave assurance that he would go through the Bill and advice for any needed amendments. He will then take it to the next level of the Government for further deliberation.

handing-over-for-vanuatu-builders-and-allied-industries-council-bill-to-hon-min-of-internal-affairs

Picture 2:  Vanuatu Builders & Allied Industries  Handing Over Council Bill to Hon. Minister of Internal Affairs.

China Investment Summit in New Caledonia cancelled

VCCI has been advised by Millennium Summits Ltd of Hong Kong that their Management had unfortunately cancelled the event “China Investment Summit” New Caledonia from 26 to 28 February 2018 due to budgetary issues and non-payment from SMEs in the region. They did not have enough paid quota local customers and felt the cancellation was the only option.

Millennium Summits Ltd would like to thank any businesses in Vanuatu for their interests,   time and efforts, and hope they may be able to work with Vanuatu businesses again in the near future.

Our Businesses and the Waste Management Act Regulations

Plastics are an environmental problem in Port Vila, Luganville, and it is spilling in to other Islands in Vanuatu. We need to practice better rubbish curbing habits. The Government has put in a Waste Management Act No. 14 of 2014, Regulations and related documents, to help with plastics. Everyone is in agreement. But there must be realistic and practical steps involved to be able to make it more effective. Nobody wants this Act and Regulations to have a negative impact, where it contributes to increase problems that we are trying to address.

The Business Community is very supportive of the intent of the Government to pass this Waste Management Act and Regulations. It agrees that yes, we need to be responsible in controlling our waste. Plastics use should be controlled. It is affecting and will continue to have drastic effects on our environment. Single use plastics bags, plastic bottles, plastic wrappers and garbage bags are everywhere. In fact the business community supplies the bulk of these plastic because of the customers (population) demands and expectations.

However the approach the Government took and the demand it made on a short notice, is the first issue. Six months to a year, is not realistic. The second is the direction the Act could head is a worry because of the uncertainty. The third being, the practicality of the public paying for a more expensive alternate to current pure plastic bags is not real.

While the ban is ok, there has to be some outlined time frames, transition and grace period that helps everybody to adjust. It drags along certain questions to answer like, what good litter habits programs have been launched in schools? What awareness have been publicized? What and how does the public embrace this message? What does the public understand about the ACT and REGULATIONS? What do they expect when they walk into a take away, the market or a shop? Will they accept being handed food by hand without any plastic bag or plastic wrapping? Which plastics are allowed within what time frame? 100% pure plastic, 50% made of vegetable material, biodegradable and compostable plastics?

The second issue is where is this Act and Regulations heading? Will it totally stop all kinds of plastic? Would plastic water bottles be banned? Are glass water bottles practical? If we are to stop local water manufacturers from using plastic, what about jobs, families, school fees and so forth? What about plastic bottles of water being imported? Would they be banned as well? What about goods that are wrapped in plastics? What about fish, meat, dairy and other animal products? Where is this ban heading? Or is it only stopping with single use plastic bags and single straws?

The third being that customers go for the cheapest option. The majority of the population are low income earners. Therefore, pure plastic bags are free or cheaper than degradable and compostable bags. Which means pure plastic is in abundance in the shops. Would the public afford these alternates? How long will it take, to be able to educate people to stop using cheap culprits and start thinking of consequences and acquiring the more environment friendly shopping bags?

This week’s article is an introduction to more discussions arising from the Waste Management Act and Regulations to help everyone understand its implications, the role of different stakeholders and working together forward. Next week will shed more light in different types of plastic bags to be explored and hopefully a view of the Government, the Environment Department responsible for the Waste Management Act No. 14 of 2014 and Regulations. To be continued …

Vanuatu Insurance Brokers are locally focused, nationally resourced and internationally endorsed

Aon Corporation, the leading global provider of risk management and insurance services and Vanuatu’s principal insurance service since 2000 is now independently owned and trading as Vanuatu Insurance Brokers Ltd.

The transition has taken nine months to achieve after Aon (New Zealand) approached its Vanuatu based General Manager Mr. Bob Sanders to purchase the brokerage and transform it to a Vanuatu company.

“Forming Vanuatu Insurance Brokers Ltd is important for Vanuatu. They wanted to ensure that Vanuatu continues to be backed by the international power of Aon going forward as Vanuatu develops and grows,” said Mr. Sanders.

Please click to view and download Media Release from Vanuatu Insurance Brokers.

For more information please contact:

Bob Sanders                         7767855                [email protected]

Lisa Macalister                    5505500                [email protected]

LAND     +678 26025

EMAIL    [email protected]

MAIL      PO Box 6182 Port Vila

WEB       www.savvyvanuatu.com

FB           www.facebook.com/savvyvanuatu

SKYPE    lisa.macalister   www.facebook.com/LivingInVanuatuPage

www.facebook.com/groups/LivingInVanuatu

 

vibteam

Picture 3: Showing Vanuatu Insurance Brokers Team.

VBRC meeting no. 2 on 20th February 2018, VAT Amendment – Guidance and Other News.

 

VBRC meeting no 2 on 20th February 2018

This is a notice to all Businesses, that the Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC), a committee of the VCCI (which represents the private sector in regards to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction), will be having its second meeting of 2018, on Tuesday 20th of February at 8:30am, in the VCCI conference room. Your presence and contribution to discussion is very important and much appreciated. See you.

Emia emi wan notis i stap go long everi Bisnis, se Vanuatu Business Resilience Committee (VBRC), we hemi wan committee blo VCCI (we i stap riprisentem praivet sekta lo sait blo klaimet jenj mo disasta risk ridaksen), bai hemi stap gat seken meeting blo 2018, long tusde namba 20 februari, lo 8:30am lo konfrens room blo VCCI. Presens blo yu mo kontribiusen blo yu lo ol diskasens emi impoten tumas mo mifala i aprisieitem. Lukim yu

 

VAT Amendment – Guidance

Please find attached the official Gazette of the new VAT act amendment, changing the VAT rate from 12.5% to 15% effective as of 01/01/2018. Attached is also guidance notes from the VAT office, prepared to assist all tax payers with the transition, attached for your convenience.

If you have any queries or need further assistance, you can contact the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry office to assist you as well as help facilitate assistance.

Please click here to view and download the followings:-

VAT Rate Change – Calculations

VAT Rate Change Overall

VAT Rate Change – Notice to retailers

Official Gazette No. 97 of 2017

For queries please email: [email protected] or contact 27543 /Mobile:7123967.

 

Townsville company says blame for project scandal lies elsewhere

TONY RAGGATT, Townsville Bulletin, February 8, 2018 – SOUTH Pacific nations need help to improve their project management, according to a leading businessman in Vanuatu.

Managing director of the Vanuatu Daily Post and Buzz FM Dan McGarry was commenting as a Townsville company, RMS Engineering and Construction, becomes embroiled in an international scandal and what The Australian newspaper describes as “one of the most disastrously implemented aid projects in the South Pacific”.

RMS was awarded to the $36 million Port Vila Urban Development road and drainage project, mostly funded by the Australian Government, where the scope of work has been cut and roadworks are in a shambles with prefabricated cement drains lying unused on the roadside.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has defended RMS’s capability and appointment.

RMS managing director Richard McDonald told the Bulletin he was unhappy “all perceived shortcomings” had been placed on them when design and project management had led to requests for “ad hoc” and “unorthodox” methods.

“Unbeknown at time of tender and then award, over 90 per cent of the project was yet to be fully designed,” Mr McDonald said.

“We have had to be involved in design, complete all background service checks, research and conduct geological testing and have been delayed by landholder approvals, all which should have been completed prior to RMS being awarded the contract.”

Mr McDonald said they had been expected to undertake work in an ad hoc, unorthodox and unintended methodology, while periodic service relocations had also hindered progress. Mr McGarry said it would be “nearly impossible” to untangle the years-long string of events which had led to the “comedy of errors” but that pinning the blame solely on RMS would be misguided. “Infrastructure projects in the developing world are hard and every single one of them requires non-transferable skills and knowledge,” Mr McGarry said. “The only way to make them more successful is to help recipient countries improve their own ability to manage them.”

The Asian Development Bank, charged with executing the project, said it was working closely with the Vanuatu government to address implementation and capacity issues, including providing additional project oversight and technical support.

The project is running 15 months behind schedule and is expected to be completed in August.

 

Loving Islands’ Field Guide to Organic Regenerative Farming in the Pacific Islands

Loving Islands is a Consultancy based in Fiji and Australia. It worked with over 300 Fijian farmers in remote island areas in 2017 and developed a practical guide to assist farmers. This guide has been developed as a take-away resource for farmers in the Pacific that may have difficulty accessing training in organic farming, as well as those that are generally interested in learning more about starting organic farming in the Pacific Islands.

Titled Field Guide to Organic Regenerative Farming, is an interactive manual for island farmer’s interested in getting started with organics. The guide is easy to read and very visual with 24 full colour pages including over 75+ images, as well as a number of ‘do it yourself’ activities to help farmers learn more about the unique environment of their farmlands and how they can make improvements with organic farm management methods. The manual also provides valuable reference materials which can be referred to throughout the seasons as needed. Made to be used on the farm, the manual has been printed on high-quality gloss art paper for added durability in the field.

Field guides are on sale now for FJD$25.00 each (inclusive of registered postage to Vanuatu) and can be ordered online by emailing [email protected] or via Facebook message through www.facebook.com/lovingislandsAU, or contact:

Litia Kirwin

Founding Director

Loving Islands Tel.

(Fiji) +679 355 4019 Tel.

(Fiji) +679 726 4019 Tel.

(Aus) +61 415 237 144

W. www.lovingislands.com

 

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs Customers and Service

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 customers and service.

No business, however small, can do without customers.  They are the business – no customers, no money, no business!  Delivering excellent customer service is what keeps them coming to you and encourages them to tell others about you.

One of the challenges faced by many businesses is when we take our customers for granted – we see them as a source of money rather than a relationship to build.  Building strong relationships with your customers is one of the best things you can do to secure the future of your business.  Look at them, talk to them, take an interest in them and, above all, thank them!

Good customer service requires businesses to spend time with their customers – this might mean stopping what you are doing when they enter your shop or premises and focus on them.  It is essential to drop everything for the customer.  Providing excellent service is much more than smiling and being friendly – business owners must make sure their staff are properly trained so that when asked a question they can deal with it.  It is very annoying for a customer when a staff member says, ‘sorry I don’t know – I’ll go and get someone’.  This is frustrating and time consuming and is unnecessary if staff are properly trained.

Looking after your customers is an essential element of ALL businesses!  Recently I was queuing in a bank somewhere in the Pacific reading the poster on the wall which proclaimed the Bank’s vision and values – all about good customer service.  Yet at the same time the queue was getting longer and longer while bank staff behind did other things – only one person was serving.  If they had all dropped everything for the customer the queue would have disappeared very quickly, and all customers would have been very happy!

Delivering consistently good customer focused service is challenging to all businesses – it takes time, it requires us to train our staff well, it means we always have to prioritize customers, even when we don’t feel like it!  But the opportunities are enormous.  Imagine getting a reputation for always delivering great service.  You will soon have many new customers.

Customers talk to other people, whether they have had a good or bad experience, and of course with today’s social media they can be talking to many people very quickly.  For example, if you are in the tourism business, comments posted on trip adviser will reach a huge potential market very quickly.

To make the most of the opportunities that good customer service provides you must:

  • Recruit new staff who like customers
  • Train staff well and properly
  • Give your staff the tools and information they need to deal with customer queries
  • Make sure you and all your staff always put the customer first
  • Have regular meetings to discuss customer issues
  • Never say I can’t – find a way to help them even if it means sending them to a competitor.
  • Make your business customer friendly – rubbish free, places to sit, water, comfort
  • Find a way to get customer feedback – if they have a complaint it is much better they tell you than others!
  • Always greet your customers, even if you are busy with someone else.
  • Always thank them for coming
  • Never make promises you can’t keep!It is always tempting to promise something that you think looks good to the customer, but it has to be realistic.Unkept promises lead to dissatisfied customers.

Remember that customers pay your bills and keep your businesses going – whatever the challenges they must always be your number one priority. If you need help with customer service or you want some feedback on your own practices, then please get in touch.  Happy customers in 2018!!

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

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 

Government and SICCI Sign Framework Deal, ACTIV 10 years celebration With local communities and Other News

Government and SICCI Sign Framework Deal

The Solomon Star – A DEAL to strengthen the newly introduced Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the Government and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI), was formally sealed on the 24th of July 2017, in Honiara.

A statement from the Prime Minister Press Secretariat said, this historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), paves a way for a strengthened partnership between the government and private sector under this arrangement.

“The MOU was signed by the Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare, Minister of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, Hon Elijah Doromuala and SICCI Chair, Jay Bartlett, at a ceremony held at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara.”

Mr Bartlett described the deal signing in his opening address, as a significant milestone that will formalise the partnership between the parties through dialogue.

“We are here to sign our MOU. A significant milestone in the progress we have made to strengthen the partnership between government and business.

“This MOU establishes a formal, structured private sector dialogue mechanism that may allow us to arrive at an agreed position on reform priorities and develop solutions that are in step with the ever changing domestic, regional and global landscape.”

Mr Bartlett said that mechanism has been the focus of SICCI for the last 24 months and on that note thanked the SICCI Secretariat, Members and Affiliates for the continued support to the Board and its vision to focus on a framework.

He thanked the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) on behalf of the SICCI Board and Members for placing value on its relationship with SICCI and agreeing to the establishment of an MOU.

In his accolade to the Government, Mr Bartlett made special mention of Mr Sogavare for playing a key role in ensuring that the partnership framework became a reality by co-signing it with Minister Doromuala on behalf of the Government.

He also made special mention of the support provided by the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration in driving the partnership framework initiative and co-hosting the signing ceremony with SICCI.

Mr Sogavare in his keynote address said the MOU is critical as it provided a platform for policy dialogue, bolsters understanding of the Government of the needs of the private sector and strengthens Government relationship with businesses.

He added that through the setup of an Advisory Group, the Government and the private sector will work towards exploring solutions that are tailor-fit to Solomon Islands context.

The Prime Minister said under the Advisory Group, the Government will work with the private sector to make recommendations towards the effective implementation of identified Public Private Partnership opportunities.

“This is a strategy to encourage the government to lend an open ear to the sector that creates the country’s wealth and pays the taxes that support the operation of the Government.”

Mr Sogavare said as Solomon Islands begins the post-RAMSI era, it is important than ever for the country to consolidate efforts to drive economic growth, create jobs and harness efforts to build a prosperous nation.

On that note, he encouraged the private sector to work with the Government on the platform of the MOU to create innovative schemes of arrangement that would encourage and allow local innovations amongst Solomon Islanders to be recognised.

He said innovations are the future of Solomon Islands and believes that the provision of incentive packages for innovation competitions will encourage youths to positively use their energy to create things and ideas for the betterment of the country.

The ceremony was attended by Government and SICCI officials, representatives of the private sector organisations, diplomatic corps and community representatives.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) look forward to achieving a similar result when it submitted a Vanuatu Government and VCCI MOU proposal to the Vanuatu Government in 2017. The creation of a formal, structured private sector dialogue mechanism aims to develop and strengthen productive and communicative working relations between the Vanuatu Government and Vanuatu businesses statutory body, undertake the VCCI reform and ensure that the implementation of the goals and policy objectives of the Economy pillar and Environment pillar of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), from 2016 to 2030, is achieved in Vanuatu, under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. 

ACTIV 10 years celebration With local communities

ACTIV (Alternative Communities Trade in Vanuatu) Association celebrated its 10 years of activity on Friday 9th February at the official opening of the exhibition organized at the espace Alliance Française. During the event all the partners (donors, NGOs, volunteers organization and private sectors) were thanked for their involvement for the last decade in the activities of the ACTIV Association. Testing of the ACTIV Association own brand AELAN products developed with the communities and small-scale producers from the archipelago, was also organized. The AELAN products range from handicrafts to awarded cocoa and chocolate, Virgin Coconut oil and spices.

Over the last decade ACTIV has worked on the economic, social and environmental empowerment of the local communities and small-scale producers of the archipelago with more than 37 projects implemented representing 137.5 million vatu funded by the governments of Australia, France, New Zealand, Canada, United Nations, USA and Vanuatu and with the assistance of 25 international volunteers from Australia, USA, France, New Caledonia, Belgium and PNG. ACTIV thank them for their significant support to the organization and the previous and current members of the board of a total of 12 people and its staff of a total of 17 people over the last decade. Finally ACTIV will not reach this level also without the huge support from every customer who purchases an AELAN product. You all contributed to build AELAN the local community brand stronger and ACTIV sincerely thanks you for this and hope you will continue to support AELAN products. More than 90 million vatu were re-distributed in the islands for the purchase of the handicrafts, cocoa and agricultural products. ACTIV will continue to produce high quality products and work for the empowerment of the local communities and small-scale producers of the archipelago of Vanuatu.

To learn more about the activities managed by ACTIV for the last decade and enjoy AELAN products, you are welcomed to visit the ACTIV 10 years exhibition at the espace Alliance Française, Port Vila, until Wednesday 21st February or visit ACTIV centre at the second lagoon and AELAN shop on the Lini Highway. The AELAN products are also available in several retailers in Port Vila and Santo.

 

activ-10-years-celebration-photo

Photo above: ACTIV 10 years celebration

 

News On Overtime For Employers

For Employers of the private sector who set up a new business and are in the process of preparing staff contracts and an employment handbook, it is suggested to consult the Employment Act CAP 160 and the Department of Labour. VCCI advise Employers of the private sector that the Section 26 of the Employment Act CAP 160 is quite clear on overtime payments. The Employers will pay the first 44 hours in a week at the normal rate. The hours from 45 to 48 (ie. the additional, overtime hours) are paid at 1.25 times the normal rate, and any hours above this is at 1.5 times the normal rate, except for the overtime for public holidays or Sundays. It is also subject to employments documents such as employment contract, employment handbook, stating that the work week is 44 hours and consists of 5 eight hour days Monday to Friday and 4 hours on Saturdays. Anything over those daily limits would attract overtime payments even if the total worked time per week is less than 44 hours. See Section 22 of the Employment Act CAP 160. You can also check the Employers Guidebook of VCCI available on VCCI website www.vcci.com.vu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any local BASP is eligible to apply. No restrictions.

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

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

To Profit Or Not To Profit, From The Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Events:

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

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

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

Leaders

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

Pro Forma Program:

Thurs 12 April:

•           Own Travel arrangements

•           Arrival and Check in QT Gold Coast Hotel

•           Evening Mission Function @ QT  

Friday 13 April:

•           Attend Major Event Capability Forum 11.00 am to 3pm

•           Pacific Networking Event -TBC

Sat 14 April:

•           Attend Pacific Partnering Breakfast 7am -9am

•           Rugby Sevens Men’s and Women’s Preliminaries

Sun 15 April:  

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

Mon 16 April:

•           Departure own arrangements

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

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

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

E          :   [email protected]

W        :   www.pacifictradeinvest.com

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

Challenges and opportunities for SMEs Staff and Recruitment

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

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

Today my focus is on staff and recruitment.

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

The opportunities in growing your team are many:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make the working environment interesting, safe and comfortable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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