Women entrepreneurs benefit from accelerator program

Women Entrepreneurs and Business Council chairperson Eseta Nadakuitavuki. Picture: ABISHEK CHAND

ACCESS to credit, access to collateral and access to the market are a few key issues rural indigenous women face in terms of starting or operating their businesses.

According to the Women Entrepreneurs and Business Council chairperson Eseta Nadakuitavuki the Fiji Bloom Business Accelerator Programme was a beneficial initiative to address a few of these issues.

“I have seen and from my experience working with these rural indigenous women is for them to start up and scale up their business they need a hand holding exercise,” she said.

“Therefore they need a mentor to just give them a nudge or nod that whatever they are doing is okay.” She said the learning style and the content of the actual six month program was a combination of different ideas.

“They will receive coaching, they will receive some technical skills and they will receive mentoring programs.

“We are one of the nine councils under the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation, so we use the federation as an arm to lobby on these challenges that these women face.”

She said one of the things they aimed to do was to actually migrate these women from being in the informal to formal sector in the micro, small to medium enterprise. “And for them to become formal they need to register their businesses.

“That again the process is not so smooth and easy for them to follow especially if they are coming from the rural areas.

“Once they get their business registered then they need to get their licenses to operate.”

Ms Nadakuitavuki added they were already incurring expenses before they started earning money.

“So they are overwhelmed with that and because they are based in the rural area they really don’t understand and don’t fathom things that we have to go through therefore the mentoring and the coaches they play an important role.

“They provide the correct advice to these women to follow through in terms of the legal process as they have experience,” she said.

She said to support the Fiji bloom program they needed active individuals, supporters and business partners who were passionate to archive this initiative of nurturing businesses from the ground up.

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