Fiji small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are now part of a Pacific-wide network of business mentoring. The Pacific Business Mentoring Programme, a partnership between the New Zealand Aid Programme and Business Mentors NZ, has the objective of developing the knowledge and expertise of Pacific business people through one-on-one mentoring. The long term aim is to contribute to sustainable economic growth in the Pacific region through a strong and dynamic SME sector.
The New Zealand-based mentors, all experienced New Zealand business people, donate their time, while the New Zealand Aid Programme covers the costs of bringing the mentors to Fiji.
The programme seeks to coordinate with existing private sector initiatives in the region. In Fiji, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation has been appointed to administer the programme.
Businesses that apply to enter the programme are assessed against specific criteria and those selected are assigned a mentor, who works with the business owner, providing advice on business development. Participation in the programme is free. Forty SMEs in the Suva area are participating in the programme and a 10 person mentoring team from New Zealand spent time with them in March. A further team of mentors is currently in Lautoka and Nadi working with businesses there.
New Zealand High