Stories & articles of our work & our people
By Liz Ah Hi
The opening day of the Samoa Business Network Business Trip, showcased the power of small and medium enterprises in expanding their horizons and mobilising each other to create positive community development, supporting a strong and vibrant economy.
The official welcome was given by the acting Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr Talalelei Tuitama who praised the initiative and the potential for employment generation as a desired
Tuitama clarified that as a net importing country, it is important to encourage local production and to be aware of the key trading partners in the regional and global setting.
The acting New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Nick Hurley in his opening remarks urged local businesses to draw on the opportunities available to them by Samoans across the globe.
The SBN New Zealand Chair, Laura Keil Hall acknowledged the vital role micro, small and medium businesses play in a healthy economy.
Referring to the SBN Business awards held earlier in September, Keil-Hall reminded those present of the importance in acknowledging the resilience, perseverance, creativity and ingenuity of Samoan businesses owners here in Samoa and across the globe.
“We all appreciate the fundamental role small businesses play in supporting a vibrant and strong economy. In New Zealand, small medium enterprises represent 97% of all enterprises.”
“Here in Samoa the figure is 88.27% which reaffirms a few things for many of us. One is the vital role of SME to our ongoing economic development. Secondly is the need for our peoples to work together to celebrate and support Samoan entrepreneurial excellence.“
The emphasis on having strong relationships between government and the private sector were highlighted in the first session of the Business Mission.
Representatives from MCIL and MFAT came to the table with presentations focussed on government policies that enable investment environments that are conducive to business and trade.
The role of the diaspora as a key market and area for growth was also recognised and robust discussions took place regarding the challenges for micro and small businesses around the costs of production.
The ongoing conversation regarding the proposed distribution centre based in Auckland for Samoan businesses to store their products was under the spotlight as the solution to those challenges.
The potential of the Tui Samoa Cable was widely discussed and what it meant for businesses present in providing reliable and efficient access to businesses wishing to promote/sell their products.
Co-founder of WE Accounting and Business Services, Eli Tagi shared their vision for growing authentic businesses and explicitly stated their company’s intentions of setting up business in Samoa with an eye on forming partnerships and participating in community development.
The SBN Business Trip event closed on Thursday with a dinner event at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.
On Friday, members of the New Zealand business delegation had one on one business meetings with stakeholders and local business leaders which were facilitated by the Samoa Business Network.
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