Charlie Sango started his retail business RLO Bethlehem Handy Craft just last year. But basket weaving was started on a small cottage industry business by his father, decades ago. Mr Sango will be part of the Solomon Islands delegation of 5 businesses attending the Path to the Pacific Trade Show at The Cloud in Auckland on April 6.

He is showcasing a range of traditional handmade cane baskets known as Loycane Basket making.

Mr Sango decided to commercialise the idea into a business about 5 years ago.  He started selling the baskets in Auki and then in Honiara.

It’s a family business that initially started with his nuclear family. The impact from his small business has reached a lot of the villages who have begun basket making including his own community Mr Sango said.  “It has a bigger impact on our livelihood. It helps us in terms of paying school fees and building good houses for our families,” he said.

Mr Sango attended the PTI NZ Path to Market workshop in Honiara.  Although he is not currently exporting internationally, he says recent sales in Honiara were about 100-150 baskets. He is hoping to find markets for his products overseas.

PTI NZ has had more than 300 companies go through the Path to Market programme over the past 4 years.  The 7-stage programme starts with an in-country workshop. Potential exporters and exporters are identified and invited to attend the Auckland part of the programme that includes a showcase event. This year, it’s the Path to the Pacific Trade Show at The Cloud on April 6.

Businesses then feedback their experiences during a post event analysis, do site visits to businesses and have one-to-one meetings with potential buyers and distributors.

For more information please contact, Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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