A weeklong capacity building workshop on ‘Building Women Entrepreneurs in the Rural Sector’ began today at the Soqosoqo Vakamarama Hall in Nabua, Fiji. This capacity building workshop is for 20 women from the Rigo Province in Papua New Guinea who operate small sewing businesses in their community.
The workshop is to expand the current skills and knowledge of these women and learn of other business areas that can be undertaken in the rural community. The workshop covers jewellery making (traditional and contemporary), screen printing, tie dyeing and sewing.
The training facilitators include: the Fiji National University Department of Fashion and Design Senior Lecturer Rosie Semisi, Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau, who is also President of Women Entrepreneurs Fiji, fashion Designers Michael Mausio and Anton Conway Wye and former journalist and artisan Thelma Nabukavou.
PIPSO’s CEO Mereia Volavola in her opening address pointed out that PIPSO’s support to the private sector is inclusive, in that, it also includes support for rural entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs in rural areas need to be supported as much as those in the urban areas. The workshop is in partnership with Niugini Native Ltd (a Papua New Guinean company) and the support of the Honourable Minister Ano Pala who saw the potential in enhancing the skills and interests of the women entrepreneurs’ in the Rigo Province.
Mrs Volavola said that much can be done to enhance skills and knowledge for business men and women in the Pacific, when we share, trade knowledge and network with each other. She encouraged companies, especially large corporates in the Pacific to work and support small scale entrepreneurs from rural areas.
Funding support for this workshop has been made possible from the Business Development Fund provided by the Japanese Government.
The event was officially opened by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor. She commended the efforts of the women in trying to upskill themselves and diversify their business activities, and declared would assist such initiatives where she could.