By Nanise Volau
AUSTRALIAN Government’s largest private sector development aid programme in Fiji, the Market Development Facility (MDF) continues to create employment through its Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) initiatives.
An agreement signed between MDF and Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF) will see future collaboration between the two agencies on development of sustainable business support services for FCEF members, in particular MSMEs in their Young Entrepreneurs Council and Women Entrepreneurs Business Council.
Australian High Commissioner, John Feakes said Fiji has an impressive record of inclusive economic growth.
He said a key priority of Australia’s aid programmeto Fiji is to support that trend and supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are critical to that agenda.
FCEF Chief Executive Officer, Nesbit Hazelman, said “FCEF recognises the role and contributions of women and young entrepreneurs especially in the informal sector and how this translates to employment, national GDP and the enhancement of the communities at grass root levels.”
He said the MOU further established the initiative by FCEF since 2013 to develop and pave the way for women and young entrepreneurs through the formation of the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council (WEBC) and the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC).”
“The partnership between MDF and FCEF through this MOU will create a way forward in not only up skilling our young entrepreneurs and women through the business model being created but also strengthens the local mentors that have been selected and trained through the programme,” Hazelman said.
FCEF is excited to be selected and to be on board with this new partnership and we know that outcomes will come in multiple folds at all level of development cutting across sectors and industries.
The MOU signing was followed by the graduation ceremony for the MSMEs involved in the MDF Fiji Enterprise Engine (M-FEE) pilot programme which started in November 2016.
The M-FEE programme involved eight MSMEs from different private sector associations around Fiji.
As part of the pilot, these businesses receive a suite of business training, coaching and mentoring which allowed them to effectively grow their businesses.
MDF Fiji Director, Mujaddid Mohsin, said with the right support, businesses can transit and grow.
“Under challenging circumstances, these 8 businesses have generated over $450,000 (USD215,000) in sales and continue to grow and take their businesses to the next level,” said Mohsin.
“FCEF will now be the scale agent to replicate this success and grow other businesses that are members of the federation,” he added.