The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) in partnership with the Australian Government funded Market Development Facility (MDF) today launched the Fiji Enterprise Engine (FEE), Fiji’s first private-sector-led business incubator for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The Fiji Enterprise Engine was launched by the Honourable Premila Kumar, Minister for Labour, Industry, Trade and Tourism at the FCEF Hub in Suva.
Ms Kumar reiterated the government’s support for MSME growth in Fiji, particularly the public-private-partnership between FCEF, MDF, MITT and ILO. She encouraged the FEE participants to make full use of the opportunities that are available to them, adding that government will support their efforts to grow and develop.
MDF initially supported FCEF in early 2018 to set up a financially sustainable model for introducing a new business incubator service. In December 2018, MDF entered into a three-year partnership with FCEF to roll-out this new service for members of the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) and Women Entrepreneurs & Business Councils (WEBC).
The launch was attended by Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner, Anna Dorney; FCEF CEO, Nesbitt Hazelman; MDF Deputy Country Director, Malcolm Bossley; and ILO Director Donglin Li.
Ms. Dorney said that the Australian Government is proud to partner with the FCEF in introducing the Fiji Enterprise Engine program to provide tailored business skills training and mentoring for FCEF members. She commended the Fiji Government’s commitment to inclusive economic growth through the support of small and medium enterprises.
FCEF CEO, Nesbit Hazelman noted that FCEF has always recognised how vital it is to develop those in the MSME space and when the opportunity arose through the Australian government supported Market Development Facility, FCEF was more than happy to partner and develop the business accelerator.
MDF Fiji’s Deputy Country Director, Malcolm Bossley, commented,‘MDF is proud to be associated as a technical partner for the FCEF Fiji Enterprise Engine(FEE). It has brought together key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the International Labour Organisation to supportMSMEs effectively grow their businesses.’
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism will provide monetary support towards this initiative. ILO helped establish YEC and this support is to help drive future membership and build capacity of existing members. MITT see’s the FEE program as a way to provide business mentoring and support for recipients of Government’s Young Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES).
ILO Director Mr Dong Li said the sustainability of YEC is also critical to the success of the Enterprise Engine and MDF-FCEF partnership and that they are pleased to provide technical and financial assistance to the Enterprise Engine and YEC.
The FEE is a nine-month customised MSME business acceleration program inclusive of 12 days classroom learning on key business subjects, as well as seven months of one-on-one mentoring, group activities and networking boosters designed to provide participants with business skills and follow up support to effectively grow their businesses. The FEE program will initially look to accommodate 15 MSMEs each year and, based on the success and interest, may expand further in future years.