The Blue Pacific celebrates 78 newly upskilled entrepreneurs to enhance e-commerce skills

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has proudly celebrated the achievement of 78 entrepreneurs who successfully completed the E-Biz Training Workshop, an initiative designed to equip business owners with essential digital transformation skills.

This training is a crucial component of the PIF E-Biz Plus program, designed to support small businesses from the Pacific in their online journey. The program includes the development of e-commerce toolkits, training workshops, coaching and grant schemes.

PIF’s Director of Programmes and Initiatives Zarak Khan, underscored the vital role of the private sector, stating, “Our businesses are the engine of economic growth and can lead the digitization process in the region. It is our duty to ensure that they can start their online journey. We thank the European Union for enabling such initiatives, which are aligned with the auspices of the 2050 Blue Strategy and implement the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap”.

The event did not only celebrate the successful participants, but it also acknowledged the eight business owners who were successfully selected at the end of the rigorous screening process for the grant award scheme. The grant will help business owners bring their e-commerce ideas and skills to life.  The awarded businesses are Hard Rock Sokehs (FSM), Hilltop Hotel (FSM), Tanny’s Island Sarongs (Samoa), O-Tahiti Pearls (Samoa), Laban’s Gift Shop (Tuvalu), Talofa Studios (Tuvalu), Hot Hula Fitness with Leony (Vanuatu), and Malekula Island Organic (Vanuatu).

Leony Heatley from Vanuatu’s Hot Hula Fitness is thrilled about her grant, saying, “Winning this grant has opened up many doors for me as well as helping me reach my goals for my business this year, with this grant I am now able to purchase equipment to enhance my online presence and digital operations ,this is very important to me especially for my business as I need to showcase quality contents online and captivate my viewers for a better online experience.”

Head of Coorporation for the EU Delegation to the Pacific, Mr. Maurizo Ciani, said “We are proud to support the private sector in gaining the skills, the funding, and the coaching needed to grow in the digital world. E-commerce holds great potential in the Pacific, especially in the services sector. The EU particularly welcomes the eCove Community, which is a promising development, offering continuous support and growth opportunities for Pacific entrepreneurs”.

The event was attended by the Pacific entrepreneurs, government officials and donor partners. Participants were also introduced to eCove Community, a dynamic new online platform offering continuous training and vibrant interaction between e-commerce entrepreneurs and policymakers across the Pacific!

The pilot phase of the PIF E-Biz Plus Program delivered to the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu is funded by the European Union through the SPIRIT project. Support is underway for Tonga and Niue funded by the PACER Plus implementation Unit. Australia finances the overall management of the PIF E-Biz Plus program.

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