Pacific marine businesses look to net investors with Fish 2.0

Thirty entrepreneurs from around the Pacific Islands participated in a workshop as part of a global business competition that connects seafood businesses with investors in Fiji on November 8-10.

Participants busy at the Fish 2.0 workshop in Fiji earlier this month.

Participants busy at the Fish 2.0 workshop in Fiji earlier this month.

The competition, known as Fish 2.0, gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to improve their business models, learn about emerging trends and technologies, win cash prizes, gain international visibility, find strategic partners and attract new investors. Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I), Sydney was a partner in bringing Fish 2.0 to the region. The workshop saw participants from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, PNG, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Tonga.

Speaking to Pacific Periscope after the event, PT&I Sydney Investment & Tourism Manager Chad Morris said, “The workshop was a great platform for the participants to learn the tools and skills to attract investors. It has provided them with a great start to the Fish 2.0 competition.”

The workshop was practical, teaching companies the art of how to pitch to investors, looking at their value proposition, the positive and social impacts their business might have as well as how to make decisions like an investor, Mr Morris said. “It asked participants to think through questions like ‘What is your business and why does it exist’, gave tips on how to connect to investors and discussed different investment options,” he added.

On the final day, participants got an opportunity to practice their pitch in front of the group and in front of a camera.

Participation was enthusiastic at the workshop.

Participation was enthusiastic at the workshop.

Participant Lili Kawaguchi of South Pacific Mozuku Tonga Ltd said, “It was refreshing to be able to sit down in a room with passionate like-minded business people from all over the Pacific in the Seafood industry. Whether you’re a small business, a start-up or an already established business, Fish 2.0 provides a platform to connect and learn not only about our seafood business but also understanding how key our roles are in supporting sustainability.

“I walk away more confident and clear about what my next steps are for our business but also knowing that I have ongoing support not only from Fish 2.0 but also from PT&I who played an important support role at the workshop.”

Mr Morris said, “It was amazing to see the difference in the group’s development and confidence from day one to day three, where they had developed a pitch and were delivering it in front of a camera and the rest of the group.”

Fish 2.0 competition is now open for Pacific Island applicants. The Pacific Competition Track of Fish2.0 is open to all seafood businesses from the Pacific Islands, even if the companies did not attend the workshop in Fiji.

Any business involved in seafood production, trade and/or supply chains; businesses involved in providing services for fisheries management; in business activities like aquaculture or mariculture, including corals, giant clams, seaweed or other products are all eligible to apply.

Businesses big and small; start-ups to established businesses – everyone can participate. The competition scoring system allows all to win, regardless of how well established the business is. There are several phases within the Fish 2.0 competition.

Fish2.0 guarantees three invitations and travel funds to Pacific Islands companies to attend and present their venture at the competition finals in California in 2017. Fish 2.0 will help these businesses get ready for investors and to meet those who are interested in their businesses.

Final Competition where the finalist will pitch to investors will be held in November 2017 at Stanford University. Companies from around the world compete in Fish 2.0.

Supporters of this year’s Fish 2.0 Pacific Islands workshop and competition track include the U.S. State Department, the Forum Fisheries Agency, PT&I Sydney and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). World Wildlife Fund-Pacific is the regional partner helping with logistics.

Along with Mr Morris, who led the project for PT&I, Manuel Valdez, PT&I Auckland Head of Investments was also present at the workshop.

“The workshop greatly helped start-up and investment-ready participants prepare a good elevator pitch to attract potential investors, bankers, and funders to invest and fund their investment projects,” Mr Valdez said.

For more information about the competition, details about its phases and questions about applying, please email PT&I Sydney Investment & Tourism Manager Chad Morris, at chad.morris@pacifictradeinvest.com

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