“Volunteering with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) helped me realize that we need to help our young generation with the use of technology to easily access information to inform and educate themselves.”
Mr Moses Tadokata, who completed his five-month mission as ICT Strategy Analyst for SICCI in late February earlier this year, recalls as he watched live from his home in Melbourne through Zoom the opening of his IT Café in Honiara on Friday 5 June 2020.
For him, this is not entirely about setting up a business but also an opportunity to work with young Solomon Islanders through this social enterprise and giving something back to the community and his home country.
Mr Tadokata has been living in Melbourne, Australia for the twenty (20) years with his family and for the last 13 years worked as a senior IT Technical Officer for the Djerriwar Health Services, a Health organisation in Victoria servicing one (1) hospital and seven (7) medical centres.
Mr Tadokata was part of the Australian Volunteer Program assignment from October 2019 to February 2020 supporting SICCI members in identifying opportunities for their business with the arrival of the undersea cable.
It was during his stint with SICCI that he had the opportunity to put to fruition the long-time idea of setting up an IT Café which was born out in Melbourne together with his Solomon Islands colleagues who used to attend University there.
The Café is now called Syntech is situated at the end of the Solomon Islands National University ‘s (SINU) Panatina Campus close to the boys’ dormitory.
“We have a community group in Melbourne that did a good number of volunteering services to help our community back in Solomon Islands and setting up this business is also part of our commitment to help in a small but tangible way.
“Also, we have engaged a number of youths to help complete this Café project,” Mr Tadokata said.
The Principal Directors of Syntech are Mr Tadokata and his wife Margaret who have financially supported the start-up of the company and the Directors are Redley Raramo, Nada Bule and Junior Wale who are all based in Honiara.
“The aim of having the Café closer to SINU is to provide avenue for our students to access some services closer to them instead of having to spend money on transportation to and from town,” he added.
Syntech is not a typical IT Café as services provided ranges from Internet services, printing, copying & scanning, secretarial services, proof reading on assignments, designing & printing professional documents, design of wired & wireless network, data design & implementation, security, software, financial, health application & others and order of IT devices & accessories.
Mr Tadokata said that Syntech will also look at providing four (4) hours of basic computer training per week which will commence in four to five months as all training materials are still stuck in Australia due to the travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic.
He said these free basic computer trainings will target secondary students in year eleven (11) and twelve (12), foundation students attending Form 7 and first year university students.
“The aim is to give students some knowledge in basic computing, software and typing skills during and before university. These are skills students will need when they are in university overseas or even our students in SINU.
“If there is a demand and funding is available, we will create a technology hub for technology students to come and gain experience,” Mr Tadokata said.
To be inclusive to everyone, Syntech is currently renovating the upstairs of their leased building and once completed, it will provide access for students and people living with disabilities.
“It is very important to have IT in terms of helping students to have experience in using PC and different types of software.
“And our internet service on the fibre optic cable should be fast enough to help students research topics online and have access to other educational materials,” Mr Tadokata said.
He said down the track if all goes well, they will take this initiative further to other communities around Solomon Islands.
SICCI while thanking Mr Tadokata for his services during the five months with the Chamber also commended him and the rest of the team at Syntech for this great initiative in supporting our own university in providing these needed services to our local students and at the same time providing employment for youths who will be working at the Café.
During his five-month assignment, Mr Tadokata assisted SICCI and its membership to make the most of the opportunities for their businesses from the arrival of the fibre optic cable through information forums and showcasing digital systems.
“If businesses are to maximise the opportunities with the undersea cable, there is value in thinking through a national body responsible for governance of the sector, developing laws and policies and creating standards for ICT use in the country.
“This body could develop standards and therefore responsibilities around the collecting, storing and processing of data by sectors such as in finance, medical and so forth. I think this has started largely driven by parts of Government concerned for example about gaps in Cyber Security.
“However, these fundamentals need to be worked on now to contribute to business confidence in the country,” Mr Tadokata had shared in his presentation to business community back in February.
SICCI congratulates Moses and his business partners on this social enterprise serving our young people starting with SINU students and students in nearby high schools.
Mr Tadokata was previously employed by the ANZ Bank, Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) and the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) before migrating with his family to Australia in 2000.
He is originally from Guadalcanal province and Choiseul Province.