District cash assistance stops

AFTER spending $20,000 to assist small businesses within seven districts, the Bua Forest Pine Trust had stopped its assistance, citing failures.

The trust’s chairman, Jimi Vola, said as of last year, the members of the board had opted to stop the assistance since about 90 per cent of the 40 businesses they assisted had failed to grow.

Mr Vola said they had assisted entrepreneurs with $500 each to start off their businesses.

“It is big money for anyone to begin a business and it is disheartening to see money being wasted, which is why the board had opted for us to put a stop to the assistance,” he said.

“We later found out that there is a dire need for entrepreneurs to be educated in financial literacy.

“The 40 small businesses that we assisted were chosen from the seven districts in the province that had given their land to be leased by the Fiji Pine Ltd.

“Businesses had begun thriving in villages when the assistance started with many beginning their own canteens, others went out on fishery business selling fish, while others began their own sundry businesses in their villages.”

Mr Vola said most of the businesses that began from their assistance failed to grow further.

“It was for these reasons that the board found it fitting to stop the assistance given to small business entrepreneurs from last year,” he said.

“There are plans by the board for the provision of financial literacy training to those wishing to begin their businesses before giving them assistance.

“The board had revisited these businesses to gauge their growth since the inception of their enterprises and found out that close to 90 per cent of businesses had failed.”

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