MDF Fiji Enterprise Engine

Creation of MDF Fiji Enterprise Engine helps Fijian MSMEs generate FJD1.2 million in additional revenue.

How learning key business skills and understanding local markets drives small and medium-sized businesses growth in Fiji.

In Fiji, MSMEs struggle to survive, largely due to a lack of knowledge regarding the processes involved in operating a business. This is due mainly to the internal challenges that they face in growing their businesses, where essential skills such as bookkeeping, business planning and relevant training are not well understood or practiced.

Previous incubation systems have attempted to address these issues via classroom training only, but have often failed to make the content of their support relevant to the Fijian issues or have been too generic in their delivery because MSMEs learn and adapt better out of the classroom.

Building on its experience working with MSMEs as part of its Market Systems Development (MSD) activities, MDF developed a pilot business acceleration program in 2016. Aptly named the Fiji Enterprise Engine (MFEE), it was created to provide a more effective way of supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through an outcome-oriented program that can be managed and sustained by the private sector. MFEE was designed to help businesses focus on growth and develop their business skills and internal processes, it would work with MSMEs to move towards a sustainable and scalable business model that improves their chances of success in the Fijian economy and the region.

Most of the MSMEs in the program were family owned and operated. This sometimes- caused issues in decision-making and finances, where a lack of planning and vision setting saw the MSMEs having large plans with little to no help to achieving their goals. Other issues of a lack of market intelligence, marketing and branding, basic book keeping, and strategic planning – emerged as MFEE progressed.

MDF set about creating customised, hands-on learning programs suited to the specificities and peculiarities of MSMEs in their local context that would allow them to build on their current knowledge and provided new insights on business growth.

This was made possible through access to a group of experienced international and local business trainers, complemented by MDF’s rich sectoral knowledge base and through coordination with other stakeholders and peers in the business and regulatory environment, such as the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, Fiji National Provident Fund and financial institutions that offer business solutions; BSP, ANZ, Westpac, HFC and the Fiji Development Bank.

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