Suva, Fiji – The Regional Pacific NDC Hub, recognizing the importance of the private sector in contributing to the achievements of countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement – their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – facilitated a talanoa networking and skills session for Greenpreneurs (green entrepreneurs) and business advisory services on 19 March 2020 in Suva, Fiji. This talanoa initiative is part of the Regional Pacific NDC Hub of which Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is an implementation partner and also aligns with GGGI’s Global Greenpreneurs Program.
The event was composed of two sessions: a networking session for all invitees and a skills session, open to the entrepreneurs. Both sessions were held at a Fiji-owned independent business venue, the Paradiso restaurant, in Suva.
“Talanoa” means to have a conversation and this event encouraged new and established green entrepreneurs to learn from their peers and build connections – a key strategy in creating and sustaining a business. Ms. Seruwaia of Naitasiri Women in Dairy highlighted that she was “happy to get the opportunity to meet fellow small businesses and learn from their experiences”. “This networking event is a valuable opportunity for our women group to learn more about how to do business and increase our connections. I can’t wait to go back and share all I have learned here today with the women back home”, she said.
The Guide to Green Entrepreneurship in Fiji was updated to reflect recent changes to business registration processes, with the support of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (MITT), and the law firm Siwatibau and Sloan. The updated Guide was also launched at the event and can be found here.
Along with established green businesses, budding, local women entrepreneurs were also in attendance. Ms. Vani Takape of Takape Bicycling Workshop commented on the great support her business had received from GGGI. Her husband, Mr. Eroni Takape was a participant in the Fiji Greenpreneurs Jumpstart Your Green Business workshop and officially opened their business in December 2018. “I am thankful for all the support we have received so far, and I am also happy to see that there are local, Fijian women present here today, talking about their businesses”, said Ms. Vani Takape.
She also highlighted that her business helps Fiji achieve its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets. Using bicycles as a mode of transport is a sustainable and zero-carbon alternative to using motor vehicles that emit greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Small but significant efforts can be taken by everyone to meet Fiji’s climate targets under the Paris Agreement. The Regional Pacific NDC Hub is working in 15 Pacific Island countries to implement their NDCs and this small green business contributes greatly to this initiative.
The networking session was also followed by a focused skills session with the theme: “Sustainability as part of your brand: Branding and digital Marketing 101”. This session drew in interested entrepreneurs and discussed in detail about marketing and sustaining their brand in line with the guidance provided in the Guide to Green Entrepreneurship in Fiji.
Founder of Eco Conscious (Fiji), Ms. Natasha Woods commented that this skills-based session was very valuable for her as it reminded her about the importance of telling her story. “This is something I feel deeply about and resonates with me and my brand as well – it has reminded me to talk more about what inspired me to start my business”, she said. Entrepreneurs also discussed branding for new businesses and harnessing the true essence of utilizing social media marketing to its full potential to make their businesses flourish.
This Greenpreneurs Program was initiated by GGGI in 2018 to support the development of new business ideas that would contribute to addressing challenges of sustainable development in Fiji and to meet its climate commitments – the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change. In March 2019, a follow-up event was also held to contact with Fiji’s Greenpreneurs and get an update on their progress and reconnect with their mentors.
The Regional Pacific NDC Hub is implemented through a partnership between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in contribution to the NDC Partnership, with financial support from Germany, United Kingdom, Australian, and New Zealand Governments.