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PIPSO Holds Regional Small Business Forum

PIPSO Holds Regional Small Business Forum

Private sector stakeholders from across the Pacific convene in Apia, Samoa, from October 15-16th for the Pacific Regional Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMME) Forum.

With the theme "Building Opportunities Together", the Forum is targeted at SMMEs in all 14 Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping.

The Regional SMME Forum is being organised by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Government of Samoa and the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, which is the country's national private sector representative organisation.

The event is receiving financial support from the ACP Business Climate Facility (BizClim), which is an ACP-European Union (EU) joint initiative aimed at fostering a business-enabling environment in ACP countries and regions.

Mr James Movick, PIPSO Chairman, acknowledged the support of the EU towards regional private sector development initiatives through PIPSO and the Forum Secretariat.

"The upcoming Regional SMME Forum is a tangible reflection of the shared commitment to foster private-public dialogue and civil society participation in governance issues in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement and the Pacific Plan," said Mr Movick.

"The theme reflects the need for governments, the private sector, donors and civil society to work in partnership to foster the growth of SMMEs, sustainable economic development and poverty reduction throughout the Pacific Islands region," Chairman Movick said.

Mr Movick added that the SMME Forum will also facilitate networking and business matchmaking amongst the participants who will be coming from throughout the Pacific Islands.

"We expect that participants will talk with each other and strike up new business opportunities, while governmental and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) service-providers will be able to network better to improve the flow of technical and financial resources to assist the SMME sector to move forward in all of the Pacific Island Countries," Mr Movick said.

The SMME Forum will feature case studies of successful regional SMME ventures and initiatives that will serve as a catalyst for dialogue and exchange of ideas on policy and business development issues between key stakeholders. Discussions on solutions to long-standing constraints to SMME development will also feature prominently.

"The programme for the Forum, developed by the Samoa SMME Planning Committee, PIPSO and BizClim, includes an invigorating mix of presentations of successful SMME case studies along with discussions of policy issues involving SMME finance, market opportunities, traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights, and entrepreneurship," Mr Movick noted.

A policy statement will be prepared and endorsed by the Forum that will recommend appropriate policy initiatives and strategies that should guide further regional efforts in SMME development in the Pacific Islands.


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