03 August 201, Apia Samoa. The New Zealand Government funded Business Link Pacific Portal launched across Pacific region in a successful multi-country event yesterday.
While Samoa’s launch packed the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel conference room, BLP portal were held in Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.
The BLP Portal is an innovative online platform designed to connect quality business advisors with small and medium-sized growing businesses in the Pacific.
The event in Samoa was coordinated by the National Private Sector Organisation, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce where businesses of all sizes attended.
The New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa HE Dr Trevor Matheson was the keynote address, speaking to reinforce the commitment of New Zealand to the social and economic development of Samoa through supporting business growth.
Local business advisors who spoke to address issues facing small businesses included Afoa Arasi Tiotio of WIBDI, Faasootauloa Sam Saili of SkyEye and Taimalieutu Ernest Betham of BDO.
Afoa Arasi spoke frankly about the issues facing Women in Business Development when working on income generating initiatives to make sure rural families are able to put food on the table.
“We are the difference between a thatched roof and a tin roof home, the moving of families from stone packed floors to homes with cemented flooring;
“The challenges faced are real because these are micro businesses working in the informal sector. We come across competing interests such as faalavelave,” said Peseta.
With 27 years of working with various businesses in Samoa amd across the region, Taimaleutu Ernest Betham highlighted the main challenges facing businesses in areas of managing people, filing tax returns, complying with NPF and ACC legislation as well as costing and pricing.
Faasootauloa Sam Saili spoke of the advantages of adopting a digital office for small businesses.
“For $250 tala per month, you can have a virtual office and move your business to the next level;
“It is affordable, simple and accessible to businesses of all sizes,” said Faasootauloa.
Over 800 small and medium sized businesses and business advisory service providers attended the four events and networking sessions, a clear indication of the level of interest in business advice in the Pacific region.
“We designed the BLP Portal to promote the high quality business services available in Pacific Island Countries, and to make the process of accessing expert business advice as streamlined as possible for growing Pacific businesses and the network of regional business advisors,” says Steve Knapp, Director of Business Link Pacific.
For small and medium sized businesses, the Portal offers a free Business Health Check that identifies business gaps and connects them to a wide range of service providers that are quality approved by BLP, services that can be accessed at a subsidised rate.
For Business Advisors, the Portal offers a marketing tool to engage and provide financial benefits to eligible clients, as well as organisational and business development support from regional consultants.
The Business Link Pacific Portal can be accessed via www.businesslinkpacific.com