The University of the South Pacific (USP) officially launched its annual Entrepreneurial Fair 2022 yesterday with the theme “Embracing Innovation, Creating Opportunities”.
The fair is one of the most significant entrepreneurship events in the region, aimed at encouraging individuals to explore their entrepreneurial qualities and positively contribute to their community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The Entrepreneurial Fair programme brings together influencers and successful entrepreneurs; and representatives from non-profit organisations (NGOs) and the public sector to share their in-depth insights on launching, funding, sustaining, and growing a business.
During his welcoming address, USP’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and President Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai, mentioned that the Entrepreneurial Training and the establishment of Small Micro Enterprises have always been a major focus for USP.
As in previous years, he said the University had facilitated entrepreneurial workshops for students and the public who had a passion for starting their businesses. Professor Vanualailai added that entrepreneurs were risk-takers and innovators.
“One of the most significant characteristics of a successful businessperson is to have the right type of connection to organisations focused on advocating for and supporting entrepreneurs and businesses in the Pacific,” he added.
He emphasised the Entrepreneurial Fair would be a week of fun and excitement as participants could meet with local and regional entrepreneurs and replicate some of the skills learnt to become successful small business operators.
Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kameli Batiweti, commended USP for the initiative during his keynote address.
He said the fair indicated the University’s commitment to establishing the entrepreneurial platform by addressing one of its key priority areas of its Strategic Plan of 2022-2024, which was to create entrepreneurial awareness for USP and the region.
Mr Batiweti added that students and the public ought to be coached on entrepreneurial skills to become job creators.
“Universities provide the best resources for small business development, including research facilities, testing of products, providing leadership courses in small business, and offering the best mentoring for successful entrepreneurs,” he added.
Mr Batiweti emphasised the Entrepreneurial Fair enhanced and solidified those ideas propelling USP into an entrepreneurial university in the years to come.
Vaibhav Brij Lal, a participant said he was able to grasp new knowledge and innovative ways to start a business.
The week-long fair offers participants opportunities for networking, business coaching and entrepreneurial skills development sessions, motivational speeches from successful entrepreneurs, funding options and various small or medium business development topics.
The Fair will feature speakers including Women Entrepreneurs & Business Council’s CEO, Ms Eseta Nadakuitavuki; Samoa Business Hub’s CEO, Mr Vaitulia Alatina Ioelu; Founder and President at V-Lab – Port Vila’s First Business Incubator, Mr Marc – Antoine Morel; the Young Entrepreneurial Council Chair, Mr Watisoni Nata, Munro Leys Partner, Mr Jon Apted; and Employment Specialist ILO, Mr Kinan Albahnasi.