About the Pacific Business Mentoring Programme
(Clients at networking function)
Business Mentors NZ started over 20 years ago and has assisted over 60,000 since then. This remarkable record of success sparked the interest of the NZ Government who saw an opportunity to drive economic development in Pacific Island countries if a similar Business Mentoring Programme could be successfully introduced into Pacific Island countries. The NZ Aid Programme therefore agreed to fully fund the pacific mentoring activities.
In early 2010 the Pacific Business Mentoring Programme was established in The Cook Islands and has since then been established in Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Kiribati and Tuvalu.
(Andrew Thomas from Christchurch with a happy client)
The programme is based in the Business Mentors NZ office in Auckland and utilises a very similar mode of operation to that used in NZ.
We select business mentors from a pool of over 1800 such volunteers from throughout NZ.
Teams of 5 experienced volunteer business mentors travel to each country for 1 week on a six monthly basis to meet with participating businesses. These mentoring discussions result in an action plan being produced for each business which details the actions the business owner will undertake in order to bring changes for the better to that business.
(Training session in Suva, Fiji)
The Pacific Business Mentor training Programme has also been successfully established in all countries with the objective of enhancing the impact of the mentoring activities by helping business owners develop their skills in operating a business successfully.
An agent is appointed in each country to organise and promote the mentoring services we offer. Usually this is the National Private Sector Organisation which typically is the Chamber of Commerce in each country.
(Mentoring in Fiji)
We currently have over 70 volunteer mentors involved and over 800 business’s participating and benefitting from the programme.
Results are measured through an independent outcome survey, which surveys all business’s participating.
The latest survey is indicating that there has been an increase in employees as a result of the mentoring support that we have provided. On average, employee numbers have increased by 0.9 people across the companies participating in the latest survey.
This is great news as our fundamental objective is economic development in each country and job creation is a major indicator of economic development taking place.
In 2011, we embarked on an extension of our mentoring services to include State Owned Enterprise CEO’s (and their Boards) to assist these organisations adopt a commercial operating model. This is a pilot programme involving the Ports, Airports and Energy SOE in both the Cook Islands and Samoa and involves a more specialised mentoring focus. It is envisaged the this programme will be expanded into other countries after the successful completion of the pilot programme.
Our experience to date has shown that providing business mentoring services into Pacific Island countries is an excellent way of assisting economic development in the private sectors of each country. Business mentors NZ mentoring success in NZ has translated well into these countries and we can see many more opportunities for such services in the future.
(Mentor & Client in Fiji)