Small Samoan firms can benefit from services

Small businesses in Samoa will benefit from advisory and professional services offered through the Business Link Pacific (B.L.P.) programme.   

B.L.P. deputy director Paul Wendland said the objective of the programme is to build a market for advisory and professional services targeting small businesses.

“The goal of our programme is to build the market for advisory services and professional services for small business. We launched in the middle of last year so we are really just building our programme here. 

“We are growing but we are recruiting activity professionals to be within our network. We have a network of four or five service providers here already like Events Marketing and Distribution,” he said. 

The programme is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

According to Mr. Wendland, small and medium-sized businesses in Samoa will be empowered by their services. 

“The significance of our programme is that it targets the empowerment of local small and medium businesses in Samoa, by working with business advisory service providers to deliver better quality and more affordable services to small and medium enterprises with between five to 50 employees.”

Speaking to Samoa Observer in an interview, he said small businesses don’t have the same opportunities to access services compared to bigger firms. 

“An example would be a website, accountant, a lawyer, and computerized accounting system, access to finance and loans, access to investment, strong marketing, and strong human resource functions.

“These businesses can suffer, not just from a lack of attention but from the lack of high grade, high quality services they need to grow. These are the kind of services we want to ensure SMEs get access to,” he added. 

BLP has a subsidy scheme programme, which Mr. Wendland indicated will subsidise half of the cost of SMEs that qualify for the programme. 

“It’s not a permanent thing and there is a cost share to the SMEs, usually around 50 per cent that we cover and they cover the other 50.” 

He also added that BLP is actively looking for local partners, service providers, consultants, advisors and firms that are interested in being a service provider for BLP and offering their subsidies to their clients.

“What we want is to attract business who can’t afford services that won’t necessarily see value in it yet. We’ve had over 100 businesses supported – we’ve leveraged over $500,000 just in subsidies alone, close to a million dollars in services rendered just in the Pacific in just over a year. We operate in 4 countries we have over 30 provider partners.”

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