The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. held their monthly meeting at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel on Monday evening. The evening was an opportunity to engage the private sector over the opportunity available through the Business Partnerships Platform (B.P.P.) to tap into matched funding for businesses that support the commercial objectives outlined by the fund.
Australia High Commissioner, Sara Moriarty, was on hand to speak on behalf of the Australian Government’s involvement in facilitating the partnership.
General Manager for Ah Liki Investments, Asiata Alex Brunt, spoke on behalf of Krissy Company who have recently announced their new partnership with B.P.P. as they get ready to scale up their business by exporting to the United States market in September.
The meeting also featured special guest speaker, C.E.O. for Pacific Games 2019, Falefata Hele Matatia, who spoke on their strategy to engage with the private sector in order to truly localise the Pacific Games experience.
“The key values of our strategy around the games are to stay local. Localising the whole event – we are trying to invest back into our people. Investing in our people, investing in our businesses and in our communities,” said Falefata in his remarks.
“We are utilizing local staff right now. We’ve decided that we won’t go with a games advisor/consultant. Every time we have these Games, we are expected to have a Games Advisor. Why don’t we just invest in our own people? We believe in our people and why don’t we trust that our people will deliver?”
Exactly 12 months until the Pacific Games 2019, Falefata said Samoa will receive about 4,000 athletes from 24 nations (including New Zealand and Australia). There will be 26 sports, two meets of elite sports competitions, 17 sports venues, over 20 athlete accommodation sites as well as 12 months of promotional and community engagement events.
Falefata said they will also be undertaking the ambitious task of bringing the Games to the big island of Savaii as well as maintain a green standard to the Games which will be in line with the Government’s environmental goals.
“It’s a big one for us – taking the Games to Savaii. We were thinking about equalising the opportunities again. You know Savaii, they equally deserve that, the vibe that we are getting with the Games so I want to equally share it with our business communities back there so that’s also on the cards. We are supporting the Governments’ incentive of 2019 going plastic bags and plastic straw free. And we are pushing to go organic.”
Falefata’s team was on hand during the networking section of the evening to discuss the business community’s queries about the official naming rights as well as the opportunities and returns available in return for their sponsorship. Last week the tax incentive of 200 percent liable deduction was approved by Parliament to help sponsors come to the party.
“What’s your return on investment? Increased brand awareness around Samoa and around the region and it helps that New Zealand and Australia are part of the Games now. We will be working with the S.T.A. to put the brand out as well in all parts of New Zealand and Australia."
“Increased opportunity to convert visitors to customers in the two-week period, there’s also exclusive opportunities to secure. In saying that we are here and we are open to suggestions. We are open to helping you in helping us and it’s a mutual conversation that we can have.”
Ah Liki Investments General Manager, Asiata Alex Brunt, gave a presentation on behalf of Krissy Company who was this year’s overall winner at the Samoa Exporting Awards. The sister company of Ah Liki wholesale, along with Savaii Coconut Farmers Association and Fairtrade A.N.Z. applied for support to the B.P.P. programme.
The AUD$1.5 million (T$2.8m) project was approved by the Australian Government through the B.P.P. at the end of 2017.
Krissy Co. Ltd contributed approximately AUD$500,000 (T$949,103), which was matched by the B.P.P fund. Fairtrade contributed their share into the project of approximately AUD$150,000 (T$284,231) with the S.C.F.A. pledging their contribution through farm re-investment replanting programme and supply.
In his presentation, Asiata said the funds will be used to invest in a multitude of upgrades to their infrastructure, new equipment, wages for employment of new staff as well as capacity building workshops. The General Manager of Ah Liki investments said through this investment, they expect farmer membership and incomes as well as export volumes to increase in the next two years.
The meeting was well attended by the local business community and declared a success by The Chief Executive Officer of Samoa's Chamber of Commerce, Hobart Vaai said: “It was a good evening and a good turnout,” he said. “We are very thankful for our sponsors, especially the Australia High Commission for highlighting the B.P.P. and the success of Krissy Corp. With Hele, he wasn’t only just here to sell but to let the business community know that there are opportunities out there.
“He used the term ‘localized’, which I liked. The fact that he is localising and really feeding into the local industries, it’s that kind of positive news we like to hear. They really want to use local businesses. They’re going to be taking it to Savaii, which is excellent, member presentations have always been about sponsorship but today there’s listed benefit for everyone. Everyone has to be on board and I’m very happy about it.”