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Entrepreneurial spirit of Fijian women

Losalini Vuki
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SOUTH Pacific Business Development (SPBD) — Fiji's 7th annual Foundation Day and annual Businesswomen of the Year Awards Celebration was held at the FMF Gymnasium on February 19.

Women micro-entrepreneurs gathered from the different villages around Fiji to witness the awarding of the best from among their ranks.

This was an yearly gathering organised to honour the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of Fijian women.

SPBD network founder and president Gregory Casagrande said SPBD had been a strong and early advocate and practitioner of financial inclusion.

"Financial inclusion is about bringing meaningful access of helpful financial products and services to all people regardless of their economic position or status in life," said Mr Casagrande.

"Specifically, for SPBD here in Fiji, it means that village-based women can take out a loan to start a small income-generating business, or she can use a savings account to grow her assets, or she can use a micro-insurance product to insure her family in the event of a calamity."

He adds that for SPBD, providing financial inclusion also meant providing their ladies with financial education, small business skill training, and ongoing guidance, encouragement, hand-holding and motivation.

SPBD is now in five countries: Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Chief guest for that event outgoing US Ambassador to Fiji Judith Beth Cefkin said getting started in any new adventure, including business, can be overwhelming, and often the first step is the most difficult to take.

"The encouragement of those who believe in us, who are going through similar challenges, and who themselves have overcome them, can give us the confidence to take that first step, keep walking, and not look back," said Mrs Cefkin.

"That is why organisations such as South Pacific Business Development are so important.

"Not only can they give us that first financial step towards setting up or growing a business, they provide a safe environment for women to learn from each other and empower each other for the betterment of the whole community."

The event was proudly sponsored by Courts Fiji, the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Vodafone Fiji and the Fiji Development Bank (FDB).

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