Change is in the air at the Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) – including its name.
Renamed the Samoa Business Hub (SBH), it was officially recognised and celebrated at a launch party on November 14, attended clients and VIPs.
This name change is a result of restructuring at the organisation, which will see it expand its advisory and support services to a wider range of businesses.
Most people know SBEC for the business training it provides to start-ups and small businesses, which it has been providing since 1994.
Going forward however, SBH will also provide business advisory services to more established, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with good growth potential.
Chief Executive Officer of SBH Alatina Ioelu is excited by the changes that are underway.
“We’ve introduced a new organisational structure at SBH, which will provide different levels of business support to enterprises at different stages of development,” Alatina explains.
For start-ups and micro-enterprises, SBH will provide a more simplified version of its Start Your Business training programme, with emphasis on assisting clients to develop their business models.
This is Stream 1 – and Stream 1 clients with a viable business model will also have access to a new micro-finance scheme being introduced by SBH.
Samoa Business Hub will provide these clients with loans of up to SAT10,000, together with micro-insurance to cover loan repayments should certain events occur such as the death of the business owner.
This micro-finance pilot is a significant development for SBH, which, for many years, has guaranteed the loans its clients take out with commercial banks.
This scheme will continue, but SBH’s micro and small enterprise clients will now have access to SBH’s own loan facility.
Stream 2 is targeted at small enterprises which have been operating for one to two years.
The Hub will provide a more advanced business training programme, and it will cover areas such as strategic planning and financial management, with an emphasis on helping clients to refine their business models and develop a bankable business plan.
If they meet lending criteria, Stream 2 clients will have access to SBH’s Loan Guarantee Scheme, enabling them to take out a commercial bank loan for up to SAT50,000 guaranteed by SBH.
An exciting, new initiative is the creation of a new business growth incubator programme (Stream 3), to be launched in early in 2020.
The SBH will be targeted at established, growth stage SMEs and particularly those with the ambition to export their products or services, while it will provide clients with extended business advisory support over a 10-month period.
Support will include an accelerator component in which SBH’s clients will be put through their paces with an intensive, advanced business training programme, covering areas such as export, innovation, marketing, finance, business strategy and people management.
In addition to the accelerator, clients will each be assigned a business coach or mentor, who can provide them with one on one advice on how to improve their businesses.
Clients will also have access to commercial bank loans of up to SAT100,000 guaranteed by SBH, and be able to participate in business networking events, as well as Master Classes, from subject matter experts.
Funding support for SBH continues to be provided by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Government of Samoa.
The Ministry helped establish SBEC in 1994 and has been a core funder since then, along with the Government of Samoa.
For more information, please contact Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at Ian.F@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz.