5 Aug 2019

Online portal to support Pacific businesses launched

3:36 pm on 5 August 2019

An online portal has been launched to help small and medium sized businesses in the Pacific access advice and services in New Zealand in order to help them grow.

Business Link Pacific (BLP), a New Zealand Government-funded development and advisory programme, launched the portal with events in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Fiji to mark the occasion.

BLP's Steve Knapp, (left), PNG designer  Anette Sete, and NZ High Commissioner to PNG Philip Taula at the portal launch in Port Moresby

BLP's Steve Knapp, (left), PNG designer Anette Sete, and NZ High Commissioner to PNG Philip Taula at the portal launch in Port Moresby Photo: RNZ Pacific / Melvin Levongo

At the launch in Port Moresby, the New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG Phillip Taula, said his country was committed to supporting prosperity and the resilience of Pacific island countries through a strong and diverse private sector.

Mr Taula said the portal was an important component of the broader BLP programme.

BLP Director Steve Knapp said the portal was designed to promote high quality business services, build upon a network of regional advisors and make the process of accessing expertise as streamlined as possible for Pacific businesses.

He said businesses could now jump online and register.

Small and medium sized-enterprises, or SMEs, could complete the online 'health check' which would identify gaps in their business.

"You answer some questions and it creates a dashboard for you that shows how well different parts of your business are doing and which parts of the business that perhaps could benefit from assistance and some advice and services," Mr Knapp said.

"Then through the portal we can connect SMEs in Pacific island countries with local service providers that can help."

He said there were a wide range of service providers that could be accessed.

"Local marketing firms that can help them with websites and digital marketing. Local firms that do accounting and finance, help them to prepare bank loans for the business.

"Or maybe with HR [Human Resources] and job descriptions and recruitment. So, all those different services that help small businesses to grow and expand."

Mr Knapp said Business Link Pacific already had around 170 businesses on its books and over 50 service providers, but he expected those numbers to increase with the launch of the new portal.

He said the portal would hopefully lead to businesses growing and contributing more to their local economies.

Steve Knapp said subsidies of up to 50 percent would also be available for selected services.

The Business Health Check on BLP's portal

The Business Health Check on BLP's portal Photo: Business Link Pacific