The Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) has been conducting small business workshops, through the APTC to Work program, to encourage students and alumni to engage in entrepreneurship and invest in small businesses that can help generate employment.
APTC has successfully held workshops in Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby) on 18 May, Fiji (Suva) on 26 May, Vanuatu (Port Vila) on 14 June and Samoa (Apia) on 16 June.
The program aims to make APTC students work-ready and become successful entrepreneurs who can manage their own business using the skills they have acquired.
The small business workshop in Suva, which was attended by over 200 participants, featured speakers from Westpac Bank, Reserve Bank of Fiji, National Centre for Small & Micro Enterprises Development and Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisations (PIPSO).
The speakers provided detailed information on financing that is available for small businesses, importance of engaging with local and regional stakeholders and developing business strategies.
APTC business trainer, Ms Kelly Barker gave her perspective about small businesses in Australia.
The workshop also featured APTC graduate and the Director of Bright Little Ones Children’s Services, Ms Milika Waqanisau, who spoke on the challenges she has been through in setting up her business.
APTC Fiji Country Manager, Mr Jonathan Todd said the workshops were a great way to enable APTC students to venture into entrepreneurship after the completion of their vocational studies.
“A workshop of this nature will prepare them with the knowledge of how to set up small businesses. We can be assured that our graduates are ready to utilise their vocational skills to help grow the economy of the Pacific Island Countries.”
One of the participants, Mr Kolinio Vukitabua, who is undertaking Certificate III in Light Vehicle Technology at the APTC Fiji campus, said he had a better understanding of the processes involved in starting up a business after attending the workshop.
“I also learned that sharing knowledge and keeping good relations with the community can help kick-start and sustain a business,” he added.
Mr Vukitabua plans to open up a garage to provide mechanical services to the public after completing his studies.