The Australian Government’s largest private-sector development aid program in Fiji, the Market Development Facility (MDF), has signed a Partnership Agreement with Fiji’s largest private sector association, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF) to develop Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Fiji.
The partnership between MDF and FCEF is a local, initiative, offering sustainable business advisory services through a business incubation program targeted at FCEF members – in particular, their Young Entrepreneurs Council and Women Entrepreneurs Business Council.
The program – which is expected to begin in March 2019 – will offer 9-month class room and one-on-one mentoring services designed to maximise businesses’ chances of success.
The signing was attended by the Australian High Commissioner, John Feakes, FCEF CEO, Nesbitt Hazelman and MDF Country Director, Mujaddid Mohsin.
In his remarks, Mr Feakes commented that the Australian Government was pleased to be able to support FCEF in establishing Fiji’s first private-sector led training program for Fiji’s up and coming entrepreneurs. He noted that the Fiji Government is strongly supporting the growth of MSMEs, and that it is excellent that FCEF is reinforcing this vision.
FCEF CEO, Nesbit Hazelman said, “The Federation is thankful for this partnership and this great initiative. The Business Accelerator program is something that FCEF had in its strategic Plan to develop and we are proud to be able to say that with the assistance of our key technical partners and the Australian Government we have been able to achieve this.”
“FCEF looks forward to rolling this program out as this becomes a new service for members and it gives FCEF the ability to impact the SME sector and not only grow businesses and the economy but ensure that we are able to also drive social impact”, he added.
FCEF President Sandeep Chauhan echoed Mr. Hazelman’s comments. “This partnership is significant for the Federation in its role as the National Private Sector Organisation of Fiji and we are excited and proud to be a part of an initiative with the MDF which will bring positive measurable impact on the SME sector in Fiji.”
“The FCEF has grown exponentially in the past couple of years and has endeavored to amplify the voice of Women and young entrepreneurs especially in the SME and informal sector. This partnership allows members of the Federation to access a program that is designed to accelerate their businesses and ability to succeed.”
“The Federation is thankful to the Australian Government and his Excellency the Australian High Commissioner Mr John Feakes for their continued support and we look forward to making this initiative a success,” he said.
The partnership follows a memorandum of understanding that was signed between MDF and FCEF in June at the culmination of the 2018 TOPEX.
MDF Fiji Director, Mujaddid Mohsin, said the partnership fosters innovate local solutions to boost the private sector. “This is an exciting opportunity to work with FCEF to create a sustainable incubation program that will be funded by the private sector”.
“Our successful Fiji Enterprise Engine incubation program became the catalyst for FCEFs move to replicate and scale up the model to benefit their members,” he continued.
“This partnership is testament to the private sector’s ability to successfully run an acceleration and business advisory service in Fiji.” .
The partnership will span over a period of three years to support FCEF to fund and manage a commercially sustainable business acceleration service as a critical member service.
The partnership was signed during the FCEF Council Board meeting at the FCEF office in Gorrie St, Suva.