Source: International Labour Organization –
SUVA, Fiji (FCEF press release) – The Fiji Enterprise Engine (FEE) business accelerator program’s latest cohort – ‘FEE-X’ – was officially launched by the Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Suva today.
Speaking at the launch, which coincides with International Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Day, Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum emphasised the valuable contribution of small businesses to Fiji’s economic recovery. He also reiterated the importance of the ongoing public-private sector partnerships to support the Fijian Government’s efforts to empower ordinary Fijians’ ability to tap into their economic potential.
“Fiji is stronger when we can harness the untapped potential of our entrepreneurs. Business accelerator services like the Fiji Enterprise Engine are proven catalysts that empower MSMEs to become more competitive and dynamic. These services complement the Fijian Government’s suite of initiatives including Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) and the COVID concessional loans,” said Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum.
The FEE, the country’s first private sector-led business accelerator program, is managed by the Fiji Commerce and Employer’s Federation (FCEF) in partnership with the Australian Government’s Market Development Facility (MDF).
Now in its third chapter, the program has adopted the FEE-X theme to acknowledge the vastly changing environment we live in and the need to ensure the program continues to offer timely and relevant support for MSMEs in these unprecedented times.
FCEF President, Vinay Narsey said FCEF was proud to partner with MDF to deliver a program which has grown from strength to strength, and continues to innovate to ensure its relevance for MSMEs.
“Based on recent MDF research, we are happy to introduce even more services for FEE-X, including new courses, as well as mentor matching. This means, MSMEs in FEE will collaborate more closely with a number of our FCEF members who are the best at what they do in their respective industries,” he added.
The FEE-X six-month programme offers locally-relevant business training and advisory support from an expert panel of local business coaches and an international master trainer across a range of disciplines such as strategic management, branding and marketing, human resources, financial management, business compliance as well as entrepreneurship and innovation. Training and mentoring will be delivered through a combination of business classroom clinics, follow-up coaching, business mentoring, networking events and practical field activities.
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes expressed his confidence in the program’s ability to deliver positive results for MSMEs.
“I’ve had the privilege of meeting several of the FEE alumni, including some innovative women entrepreneurs and have been encouraged to hear of the positive impact that the program has had on them personally and their businesses,” said Mr. Feakes. Mr. Feakes also announced that the Australian Government, through MDF, is awarding six partial scholarships for this FEE-X term, which will meet up to 50 percent of the participation costs.
“I would also like to encourage our development partners and business community here tonight to consider new and innovative ways of supporting MSMEs in Fiji, such as through the FEE program” he added.
Since its establishment in 2019, the FEE graduates have generated combined revenue of FJD 1.1million and have accessed FJD 500,000 in new finance to support their businesses as a result of implementing earnings and leveraging opportunities through FEE.
The success of the local FEE model has also expanded to support other government and development agency programs. Most recently, the FEE learning and training has been incorporated into the business accelerator pilot-recovery project implemented by the Tongan Ministry for Trade & Economic Development, and the expert panel of local FEE business coaches has provided training support agencies like the United Nation’s International Labour Organization (ILO).
“I am excited to inform you that ILO has recently received approval for a two-year joint UN project which includes Fiji. I would like to congratulate you on the launch of the Fiji Enterprise Engine 2022. For ILO we would like to further strengthen our relationships and I would be very glad to discuss how we take our partnership and commitments to another level,” said Director ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries, Matin Karimli.
To date, 27 local small business entrepreneurs have graduated from FEE, 60 percent of whom are women. In addition, FEE has provided COVID-recovery related webinars and coaching to close to 100 businesses.
Fifteen MSMEs will participate in the upcoming 2022 FEE X program which starts in mid-July.
For further information contact Palinda Kaitu’u, Business Accelerator Manager, Fiji Enterprise Engine.