As the Bay of Plenty region’s population and industry grows, so do the opportunities for businesses to flourish.
Keeping a sharp eye on the economy and how things are shaping up in his home province, is Pacific Growth Services Director and Business Navigator Aifai Esera (pictured).
Having attended the Pacific Business Village launch in Tauranga recently, Aifai says the newly established Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ Tauola Business Fund is one such opportunity not to be missed.
“The Fund is timely for our Pacific businesses as the growth of Bay of Plenty is in the billions of dollar,” Aifai says.
“It is a step for them to obtain capital investment to be competitive in the market.”
The Pacific Business Village is designed to support sustained growth in the Pacific business sector and to provide a strategic framework for long-term economic development for Pacific business in the regions outside of Auckland.
A key priority of the Village is the new fund, which provides direct investment (up to $100,000) into businesses to accelerate their long-term growth and assist with the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
Pacific Growth Services is one of the Pacific Business Networks which will provide Bay of Plenty Pacific businesses with a needs assessment and refer them to a Provider to help them address any concerns preventing their growth, Aifai explains.
“Pacific Growth will also provide pastoral care and support within its own networks in Bay of Plenty to support the business.”
Having worked for Tauranga City Council for 12 years, and maintaining friendships with several Pacific business owners, Aifai soon realised there were many opportunities available for entrepreneurs but most were unaware of these hand-ups.
“So, I started communicating and acting as a connector with these businesses...I was seeing a real disconnect between suppliers of contracts and Pacific businesses.
“I then liaised with the right people in Council on how these Pacific businesses could satisfy policy and become council contractors.”
In his own time, Aifai began consulting with the right people in Council on how these Pacific businesses could satisfy policy and become council contractors, while at the same time assisting Pacific business owners to apply for grants, such as the MPP Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund.
He says the Pacific Business Village will elevate the capability of businesses from being a sub-contractor to a main contractor, and to owning a business.
“This type of initiative gives people the opportunity to gain capital investment to grow their business so they can prosper, which in turn should allow you to able to purchase a house.
“We are not only changing the mentality of the business owner now, but also their children and children’s children.
“Initiatives like this have the potential to have long term benefit which will then flow into our wider community.”
Aifai hopes, in three to five years, Pacific businesses can tender to be the main contractor for a project.
“We will no longer be relying on the social procurement policy or being a sub-contractor to be involved.
“From the support of the village and having capital investment into the business, by then, Pacific business would be well equipped compete with tier one contractors.
“When our Pacific business succeed, our people will prosper.”
Visit the MPP website to learn more about the Pacific Business Village.
Applications for the Tauola Business Fund are now open, and close on May 27, 2022.