RELEASE: Seventy-eight Pacific businesses completed PIF training to enhance E-Commerce skills

Media Releases and News
06 June 2024

Seventy-eight Pacific businesses completed PIF training to enhance E-Commerce skills

6 June 2024, Suva: The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) proudly celebrated the achievements of 78 Pacific entrepreneurs who successfully completed a three-day regional training workshop on e-commerce as part of the PIF E-Biz Plus program. The training equips businesses with the skills and knowledge needed to enhance online presence and digital operations.

The PIF E-biz Plus program aims to assist Pacific MSMEs in transitioning from offline to online, enabling them to leverage e-commerce and digital operations effectively through a four-step approach. The program elements include: 
1.    The development of e-commerce toolkits tailored to the industry of the country,
2.    Training workshops on how to use the toolkits, 
3.    A coaching scheme for selected businesses, and
4.    A grant scheme for selected businesses.

Awarded entrepreneur, Leony Heatley from Vanuatu’s Hot Hula Fitness said, “Winning this grant has opened up many doors for me as well as helping me reach my goals for my business this year, with this grant I am now able to purchase equipment to enhance my online presence and digital operations ,this is very important to me especially for my business as I need to showcase quality contents online and captivate my viewers for a better online experience.”

Following the training workshops, businesses presented their e-commerce project proposals to access the coaching and grant schemes. Eight businesses were selected to be coached by an e-commerce expert, receiving tailored support for their specific needs. Each selected business also received a grant of EUR 5,000 to kickstart their e-commerce projects. The grant aims to ensure that the learning from the toolkits and trainings is put into practical use. The eight businesses presented their e-commerce projects during the event.  

Additionally, all 78 businesses have the opportunity to join the eCove Community, a newly launched online platform for Pacific businesses. This platform provides access to freely available e-commerce training resources and enables interactions with peers from across the region.

The pilot of the PIF E-Biz Plus program was conducted in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The eight businesses that passed a tough selection process to access the coaching and grant schemes are Hard Rock Sokehs (FSM), Hilltop Hotel (FSM), Tanny’s Island Sarongs (Samoa), O-Tahiti Pearls (Samoa), Laban’s Gift Shop (Tuvalu), Talofa Studios (Tuvalu), Hot Hula Fitness with Leony (Vanuatu), and Malekula Island Organic (Vanuatu).

PIF Director of Programmes and Initiatives Zarak Khan, acknowledged the contribution of the European Union to creating economic opportunities for our Pacific MSMEs. Khan said, “Our businesses are the engine of economic growth and can lead the digitization process in the region. It is our duty to ensure that they can start their online journey. We thank the European Union for enabling such initiatives, which are aligned with the auspices of the 2050 Blue Strategy and implement the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap”.

Maurizo Cian, Head of Cooperation for the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, said, “We are proud to support the private sector in gaining the skills, the funding, and the coaching needed to grow in the digital world. E-commerce holds great potential in the Pacific, especially in the services sector. The EU particularly welcomes the eCove Community, which is a promising development, offering continuous support and growth opportunities for Pacific entrepreneurs.”

The PIF E-biz program is a demand-driven initiative focusing on e-commerce acceleration and targeting the Pacific private sector. The pilot program, currently being implemented in FSM, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, is generously financed by the European Union through the SPIRIT project. The program’s management receives funding contributions from Australia.