Yesterday was a milestone achievement for the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
It launched the Business Mentoring Programme and issued cheques of assistance under its National Export Strategy.
An excess of $1.7 million cheque was shared amongst 12 small and medium enterprises for the first phase. It was officiated at Suvavou House and witnessed by cooperative businesses that wish to be part of the programme.
Attorney-General and Minister Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told recipients as well as cooperatives to maintain quality at all times.
“The point I’d like to make which is very critical is the quality control,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“We must always ensure that there’s quality and of course as you’ve seen in the other areas, in terms of sustainability- the supply chain.”
He said this as Germany has finally opened the kava market having banned it for some time.
He said with the mentoring programme now being more available, he hoped businesses would take advantage of it.
“This is a complete holistic approach to assisting small and medium enterprises in Fiji,” he said.
“With the mentoring system that is being funded by the Fijian Government, we’re probably spending about $370,000 in total.
“It’s not a small amount of money but we see this as a very good investment in particular for small and medium enterprises.”
He noted this realising all too well the challenges faced by the enterprises as having the ‘business acumen’ but not the know-how.
“We can start off small. We start off with mentoring for small to medium enterprises and in most economies that’s the driver of the economy.”
South Pacific Elixirs Pty Limited the maker of flavoured Taki Mai kava drink, received a grant of $137,500.
Company founder and chief at Taki Mai Zane Yoshida said the grant was an encouraging step for them in taking Levuka based operations to greater heights.
“We are a startup company here in Fiji so to be here receiving the cheque from government for the national export strategy programme is very encouraging.
“It is also very rewarding in terms of the hard work and recognition of the work that we have put in to date here in Fiji.
“Part of the grant funding is actually for a component to help setup our warehouse and office at the nursery site but also for a farm vehicle and a trailer to connect the farmers with our factory.”
Award-winning Ben’s Trading has received the grant for the second time.
Managing director, Peni Moi said: “I will use this grant to open a lot of doors to the business especially in exporting.
“I will first buy materials and prepare extra employees to build our packing shed and the pavement at factory in Navua.”
(Source: Fiji Sun)