Building Women Entrepreneurs ? Building Nations

Monday, 24 November 2014, Nadi, Fiji ? Over 150 women representing business, government and community development from throughout the Pacific will converge at the Sheraton Hotel in Nadi on Wednesday this week, to participate in the 2nd Pacific Women in Business (PWIB) Conference.

The conference will be held from 26th ? 28th November 2014, in Nadi, Fiji and will be officially opened by Australia?s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja AM.

The Australian Government, through its Pacific Women Shaping Development (Pacific Women) initiative, has provided significant financial support towards the event, with Westpac as the official private sector gold sponsor. Other conference supporters include Mai Life Magazine, the Greenhouse Studio, Kriz Corp and DJ Works Fiji.

With the theme Building Women Entrepreneurs – Building Nations, the PWIB conference will feature over 40 inspiring speakers from around the Pacific region who will share stories about their journey in business. The three-day conference will also feature parallel workshop sessions on marketing, financing, export opportunities, training and networking, growth strategies and product development.

Mereia Volavola, CEO of PIPSO, said, ?this is the second PWIB conference, with the inaugural one held in 2012, and the objective is still the same ? to get Pacific women in business together to share their experiences, network and explore business opportunities. It is also an opportunity to share challenges, encourage collective thinking around solutions and learn of new innovations that can enhance businesses. Further, the conference includes the participation of government representatives from the Ministries of Women, as well as community groups, and this is to encourage dialogue on key actions that can be implemented to help women entrepreneurs and women?s economic empowerment?.

She added that the parallel workshops are important to provide crucial information to women entrepreneurs to enhance their products and marketing to meet international market standards, learn of the opportunities in various international markets and the agencies working in the region that they can call upon to assist them.

Also on the agenda are excursions by the conference participants will also take place, with site visits planned to nearby businesses owned by women entrepreneurs.

Among the speakers is award winning New Zealand based celebrity Chef Robert Oliver who will be making a presentation on the power of pacific cuisine and Janet Sape the Founder of the first Micro bank for Women and girls in Papua New Guinea.

A mini trade fair will feature at the conference, where businesses and organisations participating will have products and assorted information materials on display.

Ms Volavola added, ?We are grateful to both the Government of Australia and Westpac Pacific for their support ? PIPSO acknowledges and recognises Australia?s commitment to policies and programmes that are targeted to especially promoting women?s economic development aspirations and participation; and with Westpac Pacific, their national and regional programmes targeting women customers and women in business.?

Fiji?s Minister for Women and Social Welfare, the Honourable Rosy Sofia Akbar will be closing the conference on Friday.

MEDIA RELEASE