In garland are Mr Pic Picot, Managing Director of New Zealand-based Pic’s Peanut Butter and Hon Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Land and Mineral Resources.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) annual Entrepreneurial Fair was launched by the Honourable Mr Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Land and Mineral Resources at the Laucala Campus on 19 February, 2018.
The launch was attended by USP staff, Senior Management, students, sponsors, invited guests and workshop participants.
Hon Koya said the Entrepreneurial Fair, will match aspiring entrepreneurs with successful entrepreneurs, from Fiji and abroad, who will share their journey and experience, which is an important event that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism supports.
Through the Fair, he noted, USP endeavours to disseminate as much information as possible to a wider audience especially, to the young Fijians who have dreams and are willing to learn from the experience of others.
“It provides a platform for young entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs, where they can not only learn, but also share ideas,” he mentioned.
“Universities and higher learning institutions must be at the forefront of small business development and provide the best resources for small business development,” he stated.
This he said, may include, research facilities, testing of products, leadership courses in small business and the best mentoring for successful entrepreneurs.
Hon Koya mentioned that the Fijian Government fully endorses the creation of micro, small and medium enterprises, with special focus on young resourceful Fijians becoming entrepreneurs.
He said the fact that Fiji is a very young nation, according to the 2017 Census, can be an enormous advantage if young people are given the support and resources needed to grow into productive, educated and ambitious Fijians.
Hon Koya said, “We want our young people to think outside the box, and make Fiji a hub of innovation for the Pacific, and the world. This is the time, that young people should realise that the world is full of entrepreneurial opportunities and risks”.
He stated that this is what the recently-launched Young Entrepreneurship Scheme or YES Minister, is all about.
“YES is about giving life to the innovative and unique ideas of smart and ambitious young people. Through YES we intend to promote and harness the talents of young Fijians. It is Government support to young Fijians, between the ages of 18 and 30 years of up to $20,000 to develop or expand their innovative and unique business ideas,” he noted.
The initiative he said, is continuing the Government’s efforts to securing a better future for all.
“In this regard, educational institutions, such as USP can become a strategic partner as they are well suited to deliver both training and opportunities to students and encourage young people to pursue entrepreneurship as a career,” he said.
He further mentioned that the opportunity is timely, as many students, are still unclear about their future careers, but also because entrepreneurial intentions tend to decrease with age, as having a job becomes most important.
“We encourage universities to provide students with additional scope in their education that is not limited to their specific subject matter,” he added.
Chief Guest Mr Pic Picot, Managing Director of New Zealand-based Pic’s Peanut Butter shared his experience of becoming an entrepreneur.
He told of how he was disappointed with sugar in his peanut butter and how that frustration gave birth to his desire to produce his own peanut butter, beginning at selling at the market with a profit of $200 per week.
Mr Picot urged students to be passionate and enthusiastic and look for the right market to sell what they are good at and keep striving forward, even though there will be failures along the way.
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