Helping unemployed Solomon Islands youth into the workforce is one of the main aims of the Technical Institute of Malaita (TIM) Gem & Jewellery Industry. The company will be exhibiting their products at the Path to the Pacific Trade Show at The Cloud on April 6. The exhibition is part of the Path to Market five-day programme in Auckland.
Founded in 2012 in Auki, Malaita Province, Solomon Islands. The Director Bernard Bakotee. TIM’s team includes Henry Dao, head of TIM Gemology, and Charlie Maen’a, Production Officer. TIM has 3 staff working at the gem and jewellery department.
“We are not exporting gems yet, we are now starting to venture into exporting. Attending the Path to Market could open doors for us find buyers for our gems,” Mr Bakote’e said.
They are planning to bring an exciting product range to introduce to New Zealand’s buyers including gem necklaces, rings and earrings.
New Zealanders may not be familiar with these gems – known as diamond stimulant gems and sourced from the interior of Malaita Island in the Solomon Islands. These are special gems collected by the local people who live in the mountains. The coloured gems are collected on the coast river areas by the rivers.
TIM’s mission is to establish a training institute to “educate, motivate and assist” graduates into business and in turn contributing to the Solomon Islands economy.
“TIM Gem & Jewellery industry was established on the vision of creating opportunity for young Solomon Islanders high school dropouts to have an avenue to train and (be) equipped with entrepreneurial skills to establish and maintain their own gemology businesses.”
A company highlight was participating in the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival in Honiara in July 2018 and the Youth@Work programme, Youth Market.
Back in November 2018, the Solomon Star reported TIM had discovered the biggest crystal natural moissanite on Malaita and the world. The two biggest crystals were 20mm and 15mm amongst other smaller crystals. The largest crystal natural moissanite was found in East Kwara’ae. Crystal natural moissante is extremely rare and shares similar properties to diamonds.
They are attending Auckland’s Path to Market programme hoping to establish an export channel into local and international markets.
By expanding their horizons, TIM hope to inspire youth into establishing cottage gem and jewellery industries in their own rural communities.
Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand ran its first Path to Market programme in the Malaita Province in 2017. The response from the small businesses was very positive. Some were not completely ready for export, but attending the workshop opened the discussion for potential exporters.
The programme has been running for the past four years as PTI NZ’s central programme offering. More than 300 businesses have attended the Path to Market in-country workshops facilitated by Ian Furlong PTI NZ Trade Development Manager and Trade Commissioner Michael Greenslade.
For more information contact, Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org