Local businesses target export market

The President of the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (S.A.M.E.), Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, has welcomed the opportunity for local businesses to build their capabilities to export and benefit from the international market.

The opportunity was presented during a marketing and promotion of the Path to Market and Investment Profiling workshop held at Hotel Millennia on Wednesday.

The workshop was facilitated by the Pacific Trade Invest (P.T.I.) and S.A.M.E.

Tagaloa spoke about the importance of investment and how that could help businesses a great deal.

“Why is investment important? It is very important to get people to put equity in your business either directly in your business or partner with you in getting your products into the export market,” he said.

 “You’re going to find that as your business grows, it’s almost impossible not to have equity capital to facilitate that process.”

The export market, he pointed out, is not an easy place.

 “We’ve often said to the government officials, to the Prime Minister and the Ministers, it is not easy to export; it is so darn difficult to export,” he said.

Which is why it is important for exporters to have standards.

“You’re going to comply with the requirements, biosecurity requirements and so forth,” he said. “Even before you start selling, there are a lot of preparations required.”

For this reason, Tagaloa said S.A.M.E. has been seen committed ongoing training on International Organization for Standardization (I.S.O.) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (H.A.C.C.P.) Certification.

 “Some of our members have been saying in the past, why are we doing these I.S.O. and H.A.C.C.P. on an ongoing basis?

 “Well the answer is very simple, even at today’s rate, today’s time, if you don’t have some form of international certification, nobody’s going to look at your product.”

Tagaloa said certification is critical these days, as well as being export ready.

The workshop covered topics on trade and investment such as understanding customers and how it can benefit your business; getting ready for the export market – regulations and requirements; and marketing – developing your company story and value proposition.

It also looked at understanding product costing, pricing and profitability; global investment climate; ease of doing business snapshot; foreign investment trend; opportunities for investment; how to make an investment decision; and structuring and preparing a compelling business plan.

Trade Development Manager of P.T.I., Ian Furlong, acknowledged the important role S.A.M.E. plays in promoting exports in Samoa. He said P.T.I. is always happy to provide assistance to local businesses.

Among the participants was the General Manager of Mailelani Bodycare Products, Tailani Salanoa, who said the topics discussed were extremely valuable to help their business.

 “It has helped us have a taste of what it’s like exporting in New Zealand and what the consumer market is like,” she said.

She is also aware that it is one thing to breakthrough to a certain market but it’s another to stay there.

“It’s just being consistent in finding who will be willing to buy our product because at the end of the day, it is not a cheap product as it gets quite expensive,” she said.

 “Having to manufacture it locally here in Samoa and sending it out there, the cost adds up.”

Ms. Salanoa said finding the right market and making the correct contacts is vital for growth.

 “These are people who buy it not just because they’re helping our company out but because it actually benefits their skin.”

Ms. Salanoa added that while they are quite strong on the local market, workshops such as the one she attended are necessary to give them new ideas and keep up with the changing business climate.

Similar workshops have been held in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.

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