Bid to get exporters online

Pacific Trade Invest general manager Jeremy Grennell speaks to participants during the E-Commerce workshop at the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation office in Suva yesterday Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

LOCAL entrepreneurs and exporters were taken through a session on how E-commerce can benefit their products at a one-day workshop yesterday at the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation headquarters.

According to the Pacific Trade Invest, E-commerce opens exciting opportunities for businesses in Fiji with international markets and is becoming an important way for businesses in the Pacific Islands to trade with the rest of the world.

While majority of small businesses in Fiji have already adopted the developing trends in business, there are still a few entrepreneurs who are still to implement them.

Confectionaries (Fiji) Ltd trading as Ganesh Sweets and Snacks operations manager Shabana Khan, who was one of the participants, said the workshop was quite enlightening for her and made her see the opportunities that could be opened through E-commerce.

Ms Khan and her sister Farhana Hakim took over the business four years ago and since then their production level had increased and so has their customer base.

Ms Khan said although they had not started exporting their products yet, they were already well-known overseas as most of their local customers sent their products to relatives overseas.

“We are planning to export and this E-commerce workshop has made me see the opportunities that are out there,” she said.

Ms Khan said they had already carried out their product testing and now they were going to embark on getting the labeling done.

The sisters employ about 15 staff members at their factory in Nasole, Nasinu where they make Indian sweets and snacks — which of course are 100 per cent vegetarian.

Ms Khan said they were very particular about the production line because most of the sweets they made were regularly bought by customers, especially Fijians of Indian descent for use during their religious ceremonies.

“We are usually very busy during Diwali and Eid and we also do catering for any function, including weddings,” she said.

She said when they first bought the business four years ago, they did not know much about running it but over the years they managed to learn and now are successful businesswomen.

“We have invested quite a lot in the business and we have also bought new packing machines,” she said.

Pacific Trade Invest general manager Jeremy Grennell spoke to the participants on the importance of E-commerce to their business and how they could get on board to market their products overseas.

According to the Pacific Trade Invest, implementing an online export strategy can bring millions of customers within the reach of even small exporters in Fiji and can provide easier market access than traditional export channels.

The organisation believes that it’s important that exporters in Fiji consider how online channels fit into their business sales strategy.

The workshop focused on the e-trade platform — Amazon Australia. A similar workshop will be held in Nadi today.

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