1 Jun 2010

Pacific Mentoring Programme gaining foothold in region

9:38 pm on 1 June 2010

A Pacific Mentoring Programme rolling out in 11 Pacific Islands this year is already proving popular among businesses which already have experience with the scheme.

The initial three-year programme is supported and funded by the New Zealand aid agency, NZAID.

The programme's manager at Business Mentors New Zealand, Ian Furlong, says most need help with sales and marketing, financial planning and working out a viable business plan.

He says while there's been no shortage of New Zealand volunteers for the programme it's been challenging for some.

"We're in the middle of the rollout into Tonga and in the Cook Islands the culture is more similar to that of New Zealand. In Tonga it's not quite the same and the language and also the understanding of the principles of mentoring, and the principles of running a business are at different levels. But the principles of running a business, regardless what country you happen to be in, are the same. And so it's applying those principles in different cultures that's where the challenge lies."

Ian Furlong says in late June volunteer mentors will visit Samoa, before going to Niue, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tokelau.