USP hosts Pacific Innovation & Entrepreneurship Workshop

From R-L: Ms Savina Nongebatu, Deputy CEO Pacific Disability Forum; Prof Jito Vanualailai, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Innovation, and International), USP; Mr J. Maritino Nemani, Permanent Secretary, Fiji Ministry of Youth and Sports; Mr Vineet Bhatia, Interim Resident Representative, UNDP Pacific Office; Ms Anna Dorney, Australia Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji and Mr Donglin Li, ILO Director for Pacific Island Countries.

A Pacific Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem workshop was held at the Innovation Hub at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 7-8 May 2019.

While officially opening the workshop, Professor Jito Vanualailai, USP’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Innovation & International, stated that Innovation plays an important role in building entrepreneurial spirit within a given social context –  whether in a research institution, donor-based organisation, health system, or in a community driven initiative.

“Regardless of the differences among different contexts, the most important criterion for a successful innovative work is us – people.

“We are the innovators of our ideas and skills within our own contexts; and we can accomplish so much more through learning and doing things together,” he commented.

USP’s Research Office then presented on Innovation at USP, highlighting the work done so far towards strengthening innovation in the region.

The aim of the workshop was to take advantage of the opportunity to bring key stakeholders from around the region together for a discussion about entrepreneurship-focused programmes.

Furthermore, it was aimed at developing a regional strategy for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly among the youth, that would then be socialised at the regional level.

The workshop covered the following activities:

• Collating insights from work with entrepreneurs and intermediaries in the Pacific;
• Reviewing global best practices and assessing the relevance of these;
• Identifying and documenting best practices for incubation / acceleration in the Pacific (with a focus on making these applicable to a broad range of organisations like chambers of commerce, educational institutions, and other service providers);
• Reviewing ecosystem building efforts in the region; and
• Developing a strategy / charter for coordinated regional entrepreneurial ecosystem building.

The workshop brought together entrepreneurs, development partners, institutions, private sector, government organisations, non-government organisations, youth, and community groups.

Co-hosted by USP, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the workshop was facilitated by Australia’s Scaling Frontier Innovation.

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