Entrepreneurs hailed as catalysts for sustainable economic growth

The Pacific Islands Entrepreneurship Expo fosters innovation and collaboration in the Pacific Islands’ entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Press release | Suva, Fiji | 30 August 2023
Start-ups and entrepreneurs showcase their business at the Pacific Islands Entrepreneurship Expo, Suva, Fiji. © ILO
SUVA (ILO News) - Fiji’s Acting Minister for Trade, Filimoni Vosarogo, has hailed entrepreneurs as catalysts for economic growth and social development, who combine creative spirit, courage, and business acumen to overcome significant odds and help improve standards of living in the country.    

Speaking at the Pacific Islands Entrepreneurship Expo, Vosarogo called on development stakeholders to create an ecosystem where every entrepreneur can access the resources and opportunities they need to scale up their endeavours.

The two-day Expo at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel brought together public, private and development stakeholders to collaborate and discuss ideas that could unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and small enterprises to address environmental concerns, social issues, and economic growth.

Vosarogo said: “Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs in Fiji and the wider Pacific are vital to our economies as sources of jobs, growth, and innovative service delivery. Their very presence enriches our economy and helps build resilience and sustainable livelihoods."

“At the same time, we must acknowledge that entrepreneurs often operate in a lopsided environment and must overcome challenges that the larger players hardly think about, such as access to finance or markets."

“As development stakeholders, it is our duty to work together to ensure we provide a level playing field for entrepreneurs to reach their full potential, so that the country, region and its people can benefit from the knock-on impacts.”  

The expo included workshops and panel discussions on business modelling, access to finance and investor-readiness, and explored ways to  turn ideas into active projects that prioritize green growth and the inclusion of more women in entrepreneurship.

It also provided a platform for Pacific entrepreneurs to engage directly with government and development partners on issues that matter to them the most.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Dirk Wagener, said: “Entrepreneurs in the Pacific Islands play an important role in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by addressing issues such as unemployment and ‘brain drain’, while driving innovation and private sector development."

An entrepreneur showcases her business at the Pacific Islands Entrepreneurship Expo, Suva, Fiji. © ILO
“The UN will continue working closely with all our Pacific partners to ensure the region’s entrepreneurs have the resources and technical know-how they need to succeed and even thrive.”

The expo was jointly run by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the UN Capital Development Fund, UN Development Programme, International Labour Organization, Asian Development Bank and YGAP.

To  increase the visibility of Pacific start-ups and entrepreneurs, the expo featured a dedicated expo area to showcase growth-ready start-ups, graduates from previous incubation or acceleration programmes, and pertinent authorities or public bodies supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups.

Participants of the Pacific Islands Entrepreneurship Expo, Suva, Fiji. © ILO

For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Sheldon Chanel
Email: Sheldon.chanel@undp.org