Challenge for SMEs

Lack of angel investors limit access to credit

A LACK of access to angel investors is holding back small and medium enterprises (SMEs), according to an entrepreneur.

Courtney Kruse of Allied Print Designs said Fiji lacked an angel investment network and SMEs faced the challenge of accessing credit even though they had potential, while speaking during a networking information session for entrepreneurs organised by the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) last Friday.

Ms Kruse is one of eight SME owners who participated in a pilot business accelerator program (Fiji Enterprise
Engine – MFEE) in 2016 which was launched by the Market Development Facility (MDF) in collaboration with FCEF and
the Fiji Export Council.

Another alumnus from the MFEE program, Rasalato Yanuyanurua, shared similar sentiments, saying that while some businesses had a good idea and a market, they lacked the security to access start-up capital.

Mr Yanuyanurua of Aswhy Enterprise, an exporter of mahogany products, said his company had been unable to
secure a loan from banks when it initially started.

“We were turned down by many banks because we were in a small scheme.

“We had the initiative, we had the markets, we know what we wanted to do but we were not given the opportunity to be
financed to start proper so we had to take a deposit from our first client, luckily our first client was willing to start us off with a deposit,” Mr Yanuyanurua said.

Today Aswhy Enterprise has export sales worth $1.5 million, an achievement Mr Yanuyanurua credits to what he learned
from the business accelerator program.

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