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12 local companies get boost for exports

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Twelve Fijian companies today received government grants totaling close to $2million to help them increase their exports under the National Export Strategy.

Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade, Shaheen Ali, said the NES is one of the Fijian Government's initiatives to encourage economic growth.

The grants he says will enable these small companies add value to their products, enable them to meet international standards, connect to new markets and grow their exports.

The 12 new recipients bring to 54 the number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) the Fijian Government has assisted  to date, amounting to $9million over eight years.

In addition to the grant presentation, the ministry also launched a business mentoring programme, funded by the Fijian Government, aimed to mentor local business people on how they can build-up their businesses and products.

Industry and Trade Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this is a complete holistic approach to assisting SMEs in Fiji in view of the $370,000 mentoring program.

He says it is a very good investment in to the SMEs in particular who may have great ideas and great products, but lack the necessary business know-how to be able to sustain and grow their businesses.

Sayed-Khaiyum also urged the grant recipients not to misuse the funding they have been provided, and to use it for the purpose it was provided for.

General Manager Pacific Business Mentoring Programme Ian Furlong said the mentoring programme will assist in efforts to drive economic growth. He also acknowledged government's efforts to provide financial assistance and the necessary support to local entrepreneurs.

Altogether, 30 cooperatives business and 30 small and medium entrepreneurs have been identified to be part of the programme.  These businesses will receive one to one mentoring over phases, and will be monitored for a period of one year.

The program runs until May 2015. In phase one, which starts today, a total of 5 cooperatives and 10 small and micro entrepreneurs from the central/eastern Division will be mentored.

The businesses will be provided with one-on-one mentoring that will give independent, impartial suggestions on the current operations, ways to implement improvements, identify strategies and opportunities for growth and help them set new goals.

The Trade Ministry hopes that some of businesses assisted through the mentoring programme, will in the next few years graduate to export-level and be part of the National Export Strategy.

Grant Recipients
1. Bens Trading Ltd, Navua - $500,000 - Rootcrops
2. Copra Millers (Fiji) Ltd, Savusavu - $96,000 - Coconut Crude Oil
3. Farm Boy Ltd, Nadi - $65,000 - Fruit and vegetables
4. Garden City Exports Ltd, Nasinu - $150,00 - Fruits and Vegetables
5. Green Lumber Solutions Ltd, Nasinu - $83,612 - Mahogany
6. Lami Kava Ltd, Lami - $126,608 - Kava
7. Maqere Exports Ltd, Tavua - $27,847 - Fruits and Vegetables
8. Nature's Way Cooperative, Nadi - $92,000 - Fruits and Vegetables
9. PAFCO, Levuka - $119,140 - Canned Fish
10. Raj Kava Dealers Ltd, Nausori - $150,000 - Kava
11. South Pacific Elixirs Ltd, Levuka - $137,500 - Kava Bottled
12. Walt Smith International Ltd, Lautoka - $200,000 - Coral and Live Fish

(Source: Fijilive)