BSP Financial Group Limited (BSP) in partnership with Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) today launched Fiji THRIVE, a co-designed business development program for locally-owned, including women-led, businesses in Fiji.
Drawing on the vast potential of micro and small to medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), the program will commence with providing training and mentoring to 25 promising Fiji business leaders over the coming six months to equip them with skills to build the foundation that they need for future business growth. During year 1, the program will build out across Viti Levu, with the ultimate goal to reach MSMEs across Fiji through a multi-year partnership between BSP Fiji and ABV.
BSP Relieving Country Head Mr. Maikash Ali said, “This programme is the latest under the BSP Group’s partnership with the Australian international development organisation, ABV, and we are delighted to deliver it as Fiji THRIVE, tailored to our business environment.”
The acronym THRIVE means, “Together, Helping [to build a] Resilient, Inclusive [and] Vibrant Economy” which captures the essence of this program earmarked as key to unlocking Fiji’s entrepreneurship and women-led businesses for more resilient and sustainable communities.
“Each year BSP supports social and environmental programs that enrich our communities, and we couldn’t be more excited about the far-reaching impact that this program has to offer. After all, by banking on these local businesses, we are also helping Fiji grow,” Mr. Ali said.
Working in the region for over 40 years, ABV CEO Ms. Liz Mackinlay said while this had long been a proven model for sustainable development, it was the calibre of the training, alongside ongoing coaching and business management mentoring delivered by trusted ABV Skilled Business Professionals (SBPs), that underpinned it for success.
“This exciting program sees a collaboration between BSP, ABV and the British High Commission, with endorsement from the Government of Fiji, which is an excellent example of a public-private partnership”. Ms. Mackinlay said.
“We’ve delivered some 500 programs in over 30 countries, and time and time again the success of these boils down to how locally-driven the programs are for the unique contexts of the communities in which we are invited to walk alongside,” Mackinlay said.
"Program participants will gain access to strong business management coaching and ongoing mentorship relationships with our Skilled Business Professionals (SBPs) who come with years of expertise in the region and in driving forward successful companies.
“Being able to co-design the practical business mentorship programs with BSP stakeholders while also drawing from direct support of business management experts really hits the mark and should be a more common approach in development programs.”
Providing valuable support to the program, British High Commissioner, Dr Brian Jones said, “the new Fiji government asked me to prioritise partnership with locally owned, inclusive growth through the MSME Business Sector, and I’m elated to do that.
“I’ve met some fabulous Fiji entrepreneurs and businesspeople here and linking them up with the experience of ABV and the financial support of BSP will give their businesses a solid head-start. It will give Fiji’s economy a much-needed injection of diversity, creativity, and opportunity.
“The UK is a world-leading incubator for innovation, and my team are here to help if some of these businesses seek to find partners, investors and a market for their goods and services in the UK," Jones said.
Directly aligned with goals set out in the Fiji National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2022-2030, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs and Communications, the Hon. Manoa Kamikamica welcomed the program and its strategic intent.
"Access to finance is a key challenge for many MSMEs. Therefore, it is fitting to see a financial institution taking a lead role in developing these MSMEs through such initiatives which will ultimately build them to access finance for their business," Minister Kamikamica said. " I also urge participants to strive towards achieving exponential commercial independence and entrepreneurial growth. This is your opportunity to learn and apply the knowledge which is imparted to you".
The MSME Development Program, known as Fiji THRIVE will engage local entrepreneurs in a 12-month program of coaching, mentoring and on-site training from ABV Skilled Business Professionals with funding support from BSP and the British High Commission.