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Entrepreneurship programmes launched

Two training programmes designed for Samoa’s entrepreneurs to develop their businesses with guidance from local mentors and regional innovation training experts, were launched on Wednesday afternoon.

Powered by Phandeeyar, the launch for the Start-up Challenge 2020 and LaunchPad 2020, was held at The Hub, OSM Headquarters at Lotopa.

The Start-up Challenge 2020 is a nine-day entrepreneurship training programme and pitching competition that will run online from 9 September to 18 September 2020.  It is designed to test and pitch new ideas and support established businesses taking on new technology solutions.

For established technology start-ups looking to further refine their knowledge and business operations, the Launchpad 2020 is a 4-6 week comprehensive training programme. 

The programme is best suited for technology start-ups that have an established business model and product and are aiming to scale. 

Phandeeyar is a community tech hub that is fostering Myanmar's technology and innovation ecosystem.

The launch was attended by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology (M.C.I.T.), Afamasaga Rico Tupai; Deputy Australian High Commissioner, Barry Patterson, SkyEye Group Chief Executive Officer, Fa'aso'otauloa Sam Saili, Vodafone Samoa’s C.E.O., Nofoasaefa Satish Sharma, and Digicel Samoa C.E.O., Mark Witthuhn.

Afamasaga embraced the initiatives saying they will benefit Samoa in its efforts to develop digitized platforms.

He acknowledged the Australian High Commissioner, GSMA and Phandeeyar for providing yet again another platform for business community especially emerging entrepreneurs to showcase their respective developments for the benefit of all.

“I also acknowledge our business community participating in this event," he said.

He added that he remains hopeful that the business community will stay a course and remain steadfast to these developments.

Afamasaga also highlighted that GSMA and Phandeeyar have recognised and are seeking out Samoan starters with potential investments and providing the necessary platform and support by the provision of a startup challenge 2020 with a nine-day entrepreneurship training programme followed by a pitching competition.

“In addition to this, I am made aware of LaunchPad 2020 which includes a six week comprehensive training programme for established entrepreneurs to better equip them with the necessary tools and knowledge to progress them with their business ideas and initiatives into a reality.”

Following the success of Seedstars Apia in 2019 and the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator programs, GSMA and the Australian Government are bringing new partner, Phandeeyar to Samoa to deliver targeted entrepreneurship and innovation training.    

The Australian Government is supporting this initiative to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Pacific harness technology solutions by accessing expert training and coaching from local and regional experts. This is even more important after the emergence of COVID-19, with the private sector playing an important role in driving economic recovery in the region.  

The Start-up Challenge training is provided by leading professionals and local start-up founders. Participants will learn about using lean canvas, effective marketing, market expansion and business operations.

While the Launchpad programme gives participants access to new insights, professional business coaching and expands their networks to potential investors. The most promising ideas and aspiring founders from the Start-up Challenge will also receive a place in the Launchpad programme. 

In Samoa participants will be supported by Fa'aso'otauloa and previous participant of the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator programme.         

The Head of Asia Pacific for the GSMA, Julian Gorman said that Samoa's commitment to developing innovative solutions for its own citizens and the region continues to push us forward.

“We have been supporting Samoan start-ups for a few years and we continue to extend our assistance through this COVID crisis, preparing them to thrive beyond it. 

“We are excited to be partnering with Phandeeyar and Seedstars, supported by the Australian Government, to bring a new Start-up Challenge 2020, LaunchPad programs and pitching competitions to Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Samoa.

“A vibrant digital entrepreneurship ecosystem is a key ingredient for digital transformation and we look forward to advancing this journey in Island Nations.” 

The Phandeeyar Chief Executive Officer, Jes Kaliebe Petersen shared that Phandeeyar is committed to supporting the most promising tech startups and businesses that are willing to digitalise in Samoa to succeed.

“We have been running our flagship program, Startup Challenge, in Myanmar since 2015 and have nurtured hundreds of tech startups.

“Since then, this program has been a platform for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality. 

“With the help of GSMA and Australian Aid, we are bringing this tremendous program that grooms aspiring entrepreneurs to Samoa. This year our program is bigger than ever, and we are looking forward to meeting and working with the next generation of tech startup founders during the event, and to support their growth as they become successful businesses.”

Additionally, he added that there will be a follow-up programme after Startup Challenge, Launch Pad, which will be an intensive training program for both tech startups and business owners to further nurture and grow their businesses.  

To learn more and sign up for the Start-up Challenge 2020 or Launchpad 2020, visit startupchallenge.phandeeyar.org  

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