Four members of the Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands (YECSI) pitched their businesses to the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and fellow YECSI members at a business pitch and networking event held at Honiara City Council’s (HCC’s) Youth Hub.
The YECSI pitch and networking event was supported by Australia’s Strongim Bisnis program as part of their ongoing partnership, and the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
YECSI Vice Chairman, Limahl Totogi says pitch and networking events are crucial for youth owned businesses to gain visibility in the private sector and for young entrepreneurs to build up confidence and expand their networks.
The focus of the Strongim Bisnis and YECSI partnership has been the E-nnovation Blo Iumi (EBI) 1 and EBI 2 challenges and pitch events which gave young Solomon Islands business owners the chance to be trained and mentored on their business ideas and supported during the incubation process.
“After the success of the E-nnovation Blo Iumi (EBI) 1 and EBI 2 we want to maintain the momentum and continue providing opportunities for our members to learn from each other and work collaboratively towards the sustainable growth of their businesses,” Mr Totogi said.
“We need to leverage the energy that was created through the EBI 1 and EBI 2 and encourage young entrepreneurs to participate in pitch events to increase their exposure and grow their networks.”
“We are grateful to have SICCI, New Zealand and Australia’s support in fostering our young entrepreneurs’ entrance into the formal economy,” Mr Totogi said.
Strongim Bisnis has been supporting YECSI since 2020 to build a collaborative development program that engages both the public and private sectors to foster local young entrepreneurs and, through a pipeline program, guide them into formal business operations.
Addressing the award ceremony, the Australian High Commissioner, Dr Lachlan Strahan emphasised Australia’s interest in supporting opportunities for Solomon Islands youth to make meaningful contributions to the private sector.
“Youth play a crucial role in any national economy. Harnessing the energy and creativity that young entrepreneurs bring can allow for exciting and new ideas to emerge and drive economic growth.”
“Australia is proud to support YECSI in cultivating business development opportunities for their members and the wider community of young entrepreneurs,” Dr Strahan said.
Women’s Economic Empowerment and Social Inclusion Director, Gianluca Nardi says the results of the EBI.1 and EBI.2 innovation challenges have been positive according to Strongim Bisnis’ impact reporting.
“Participants from the EBI 1 and EBI 2 reported an improvement in their confidence, business management skills and overall entrepreneurial outlook following their participation,” Mr Nardi said.
“As part of our partnership YECSI has committed to continuing use pitch and networking events as a valuable tool for business exposure, peer to peer learning and networking with the broader private sector,” Mr Nardi said.
In addition to the pitch event and follow up support, YECSI was supported by Strongim Bisnis to provide eight weeks of induction for the EBI 1 and EBI 2 participants with technical training and motivational mentoring via Zoom and Facebook Workplace.
With support from Strongim Bisnis, YECSI will continue to work with public sector stakeholders to utilize EBI as a means of facilitating young entrepreneurs’ entry into the formal sector. Strongim Bisnis’ support complements the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s contributions to YECSI’s operations. End Release