Funding boost for Solomon Is businesswomen


The Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) received a shot in the arm last week with extra funding of S$3 million<!--more--> from the Australian Governments Department of Foreign Affairs &amp; Trade (DFaT).

Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands Andrew Byrne announced the funding in Honiara last week at the ‘Mere’s Market’, one of the association’s successful initiatives.

The bimonthly Mere’s Market is an avenue for Solomon Islands women promote and market small holder produce as well as handicrafts and other merchandise and develop networks for distribution of their wares. It is usually held at the Honiara Art Gallery grounds.

High Commissioner Byrne was quoted in the media as saying, “Australia is proud to be a supporter of the Mere’s Market. We congratulate SIWIBA and its members for the work they do to make this event happen… It is an ideal location for women to showcase their businesses, create networks, share ideas and add to their incomes.

“This market is just one of the ways that SIWIBA is helping to improve economic opportunities for women in Solomon Islands, where most women work in the informal sector to meet basic needs of their families.”

The additional funding will cover a period of three years. The Australian Government has supported SIWIBA, which now has 400 members both from formal and informal sectors, since 2011. The funding will help SIWIBA establish a business development centre for women entrepreneurs, with a dedicated training coordinator and will also support the continuation of the Mere’s Market.

In addition, Australia’s funding will also be used by SIWIBA to support savings clubs, develop newsletters and host an awards night to recognise and reward economic achievements of women.