Coaching Pacific businesses to success

The Pacific Business Mentoring programme, run by Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ), encourages kiwi volunteers to use their business acumen and experience to help small and medium-sized businesses grow in the Pacific. 

The Pacific Business Mentoring programme has just completed its second year of operations and a recent six-monthly report has indicated it is performing very well. The New Zealand Aid Programme funds the scheme, which has thus far supported 320 client businesses in five countries (Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Business Mentoring is in the process of extending the programme to Niue, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Fiji and Tokelau and is expected to be in full swing by the end of 2012.

The results of the independent survey showed that just six months after a “mentor match” was made, average employee numbers had grown by 1.5 full time equivalents (FTEs) in 128 businesses; 98% of clients said they would recommend the programme to others; and 51% of clients reported profits had increased.

Fiji is the latest Pacific island country to be included in the BMNZ-managed project. The ten-strong team of mentors in Fiji is twice as large as the usual contingent since Fiji is a larger economy than most other Pacific Islands.

Suka Salusalu, Training and Research Coordinator at the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation, the Business Mentors’ Agent says: “The Mentoring programme will encourage up-skilling of our business people and will lead to a boost to profits for our smaller and medium sized enterprises. I am so excited to be part of the coordinating team and am sure it’s going to make a tremendous difference.”

Ian Furlong, General Manager of the Business Mentors Pacific Programme adds: “Experienced Independent New Zealand business mentors bring a fresh perspective and approach to analysing existing business performance and opportunities for smaller business communities. Often the range of expertise provided by the New Zealand mentors is not available in many Pacific Island countries.

“The situation in the Pacific over recent times has seen many business owners under pressure and having to cope in a very challenging business environment. Many lack the experience to get through and this is where a business mentor can help," he says.

Back to March 2012 Development stories