Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand conducted Path to Market workshops in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu recently, which saw enthusiastic participation from business people in both countries .
PTI NZ created the Path to Market programme a few years ago to provide a multi-staged structured approach for Pacific Island businesses to better understand exporting into the New Zealand market. PTI NZ works with economic development agencies (EDAs) in each Pacific Island country to identify potential exporters.
The workshop is the first step in the series of steps of the programme for export-ready companies. It covers topics that help companies export successfully and provides a snapshot of the New Zealand market.
The programme, in subsequent stages, provides selected companies the opportunity to participate in a trade mission to New Zealand to look at export opportunities for themselves.
The trade missions usually coincide with major trade shows or events like Auckland’s Pasifika Festival or food and beverage trade shows in New Zealand at different times of the year.
“The workshop in the Solomon Islands was well attended with just under 40 attendees present,” Leaupepe Ta’ala Ralph Elika, Lead Consultant at consulting firm ECG told Pacific Periscope. Mr Elika was part of the PTI team that delivered the workshops in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
A wide variety of businesses — from handicrafts and kava growers to timber suppliers and cosmetics – attended the workshop.
“There were a few businesses that were already exporting some of their goods such as coconut oil and they still found a lot of value in the workshop — especially with the branding and financial component which was both gratifying and insightful,” Mr Elika said.
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), which is the in-country EDA partner for the PTI NZ Path to Market programme in the Solomon Islands, helped host the one-day workshop. This was the third time that SICCI and PTI NZ partnered to host the Path to Market workshop in the country.
“The Chamber was very happy with the turnout and the partnership was productive. As a result of attendance at the workshop, many non-members of the chamber signed up and joined the chamber — so the workshops are proving to be a great recruitment and retention tool for the chamber,” Mr Elika said.
“It works for PTI NZ, as we continue to work and engage with good businesses with export potential or export expansion – a win/win situation for both organisations and for the local business community,” he added.
“There was lots of positive engagement with the attendees and the feedback reflected this,” Mr Elika said.
He said there was considerable interest among the participating companies to join the delegation for Auckland’s March 2019 PolyFest or Pasifika – the two major Pacific centric festivals in New Zealand.
“Many were asking about the criteria and were very understanding about the 50/50 split of costs as it demonstrated a commitment and investment from the businesses coming to New Zealand,” he said.
In Port Vila, Vanuatu, Mr Elika said, there was “A solid turnout despite the wet weather.”
He said there was a similar mix of attendances coming from various industries and fields including handicrafts, kava, farming, resort management and cosmetics.
“There were some good businesses with exporting potential – one in particular: Eau Des Iles, a business with a cosmetics line was a stand out. They had polished branding and packaging for two of their fragrances and were already starting to export in French Polynesia,” Mr Elika added.
For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at firstname.lastname@example.org