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Samoa Business Network response to Cyclone Evan

Samoa Business Network response to Cyclone Evan

The Samoa Business Network, a non-governmental and non-profitable organisation, is calling on businesses within New Zealand and the international community, to contribute to its relief efforts for Samoa.

Co-founders of the Samoan Business Network Laura Keil-Hall, Business Manager of the Manukau branch of the Bank of New Zealand, and Rasmus Pereira, Director of ShopSamoa.com, have developed a two stage, strategic approach in response to the calls for assistance.

Keil- Hall states that “the Samoa Business Network was created in order to provide a forum of support for small Samoan owned businesses; to inspire our Samoan people within our community to pursue their dreams in business, but also to provide them with strategic advice, guidance and support. Most of which comes from the wealth of knowledge and experience of existing business owners who are already a part of the network”.

Pereira thus explains that the strategic response of the Samoan Business Network to the reconstruction efforts, mirrors the aspirations of the Samoan Business network. “Having been set up to support small Samoan owned businesses here in New Zealand, it only makes sense that we as group target our particular assistance (finances and resources) into investing, supporting and developing the capacity of businesses in Samoa to be able to provide core and essential services to our people. The investment of finances raised by buying materials directly from Samoan businesses in Samoa, is part of a strategic approach to stimulate the local economy, and to ensure that the people of Samoa are able to benefit from this in the long term.”

The Samoa Business Network will be looking at working with specific NGO’s in Samoa such as the Women in Business and Development, as well as the Chamber of Commerce in Samoa in order to identify what needs are a priority, and where best it can target their efforts.

“We are confident that the official response from the New Zealand government and other donor countries will be sufficient in meeting some of the short term immediate needs, such as access to food and water, as well as long term needs, investing and rebuilding the infrastructure of Samoa. We are also aware of the many humanitarian agencies such as the Samoa Red Cross, who are working tirelessly with the support of others, to ensure affected families are given the support and resources needed in order to begin to recover from the devastating impacts of the Cyclone Evan, and so it makes sense to us that our particular approach is more targeted and strategically aimed at Samoan businesses.”
The Samoa Business Network has established a bank account the “Cyclone Eveni Relief Fund”, to which businesses and communities are encouraged to make direct donations to. “The first part of our strategic response is ensuring we have finances to be able to respond to the immediate needs within the general community, those who are most vulnerable and whose needs must be urgently met.” Pereira highlights that the Samoa Business Network is currently working with other businesses owners to address the immediate needs of the relief efforts. “ShopSamoa.com is extremely pleased and honoured to be able to participate in this initiative, and we are donating $100.00 to start off our efforts.” ShopSamoa.com is also working with Lani Wendt Young, author of the successful Telesa Trilogy. “We’ve got a special deal with Lani’s Telesa books one for $25.00 or both parts for $49.00. $5.00 from each purchase will go towards our relief efforts.” Tagaloa Fiafia Manase, Director of Five Stars Motors, is also offering to donate to the relief cause. Tagaloa currently has a Christmas fundraising event which will take place Saturday 22nd November, at the EvaEva Paradise bar in Otara. Entry is $15.00 and $5.00 of that fee will go directly to the Samoa Business Network Cyclone Evan relief account. Hall states that the Samoan Business Network has been overwhelmed with the initial response by business owners, but highlights, there is still a long way to go. “We’re calling on all businesses, Samoan or non-Samoan to give generously, so that we can make a real impact”.

“With over more than 5000 people left homeless, currently residing in various evacuation centres, it is our desire to get them the help that they need.”

The second part of our approach will involve a major fundraising initiative in Auckland at the end of January 2013. The proceeds from this event will benefit the work we have planned once funds are received. “In this second stage of our relief efforts, we have a particular focus on investing in the business community, ensuring they have generators, and also, ensuring their capacity to be able to operate is not compromised, and so through this partnership, critical services and materials such as food, water and medical supplies are able to be delivered to those in need of it most.” It is also important for the economy in general that our small businesses do well, especially those most vulnerable and susceptible to damage from natural events, for long term economic growth and stability within Samoa.
The entire process will be transparent. Once the relationships have been formed, and we have a more structured and strategic approach in providing assistance, all these details, as well as any purchases and donations made will be available on our website. “Like in any organisation, transparency is pivotal to our operations. We are however very confident in the working relationships we have, and will do our best to ensure that the focus remains on the people of Samoa, and the role we are playing in supporting and enhancing their efforts in rebuilding their lives.

Donations of any amount can be made directly to:

Name of Account: Cyclone Eveni Relief Fund
Account Number: BNZ 02-0191-0352390-001
Or via ShopSamoa.com (http://www.shopsamoa.co.nz/products/cyclone-eveni-relief-efforts-donate-now) where people may donate $10 minimum through paypal account (with 10% to remain with Shopsamoa.com to pay for transactions fees etc). Funds will be credited into Cyclone Eveni Relief Fund account.

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