Project Everest

A Day in Suva *BIG POST*

SoCon started their morning at 0800 on Wednesday for an early morning trip to Fiji’s capital, Suva. The drive took two hours and SoCon had landed in Suva by 1000. The ultimate aim of the day was to manage stakeholders, both old and new.

 

The team split up, half went to the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) head office, while the other half headed towards the Fiji National University (FNU). The team at SPBD had the goal of re-establishing the relationship made with SPBD in July in which a memorandum of understanding (MOU) had been signed. Last July SoCon held an education workshop at SPBD’s Sigatoka branch. The result that came out of the Wednesday SPBD meeting is that our relationship has successfully been re-established and that we have a meeting lined up with the General Manager of SPBD’s Fiji Operations next Tuesday in Suva again, to discuss holding workshops in the last two weeks of the December month.

 

Meanwhile the team that had headed towards FNU rebounded off a few different campuses but did successfully find the business school. After a short wait they were in a meeting with the Dean of FNU’s Business School a man named Ram Karan, who had studied in Australia himself. During the meeting the team discussed the possibility of partnering with FNU and establishing an internship program for FNU Business Students to help run SoCon workshops. The idea behind using Fiji students to run workshops is to make the project scaleable in months where Project Everest is away, along with creating a social impact by providing Fiji Students with greater professional competencies. Ram Karan showed much interest in Project Everest and the SoCon project that he tried to set up a meeting the following week with the other business school board members where a more formal pitch would be made, however FNU starts holidays very soon so the meeting is estimated to be scheduled during the middle of January for the next SoCon trekkers to handle. The outcome of this meeting was ultimately a success with a clear demand from the dean.

 

After the two meetings the SPBD team headed down the road to another micro financing organisation that the project hasn't had any prior contact with, NCSMED. At NCSMED we were only able to land a quick 5 minute talk with a manager whose details we took down and seemed interested in setting up a meeting next week as well to talk more about the program.

 

After the meeting with SPBD, FNU and NCSMED the SoCon team regrouped for lunch and a debrief. After the brief break the team headed towards more new stakeholders to speak to; The UN and The Fiji Ministry of Economy. Upon talking to the Ministry of Economy the SoCon team learnt that just across the road, the Ministry of Industry had a special program dedicated to micro enterprises called the Integrated Human Resource Development Program (IHRDP). Next we walked into the Ministry of Industry, spoke to a woman named Losama, who we pitched our idea too and learnt that the IHRDP program is about providing $1000 grants to micro-enterprises in Fiji. Losama seemed to like the idea of our workshops and decided it was something the board members needed to hear. Within the next five minutes we went from sitting on a desk with Losama to being at the head of a boardroom table pitching our idea 8 board members. The angle we took with our workshop pitch was to potentially provide workshops to IHRDP applicants as a requirement before a grant was received. We received positive attitudes about the project from the board members who took down our information and agreed that education and financing together would be most beneficial to micro enterprises. We also learnt that the ministry has data on around 50,000 micro enterprises in Fiji that we believe they would be willing to share with the project.

 

The final meeting of the day was with The United Nations at their Suva office. The SoCon team managed to land a meeting with Losana (different to Losama at the Ministry). Losana informed the SoCon team about the UN Development Program (UNDP) where they are looking to head into villages and provide forms of education. The SoCon team expressed interest in shadowing the UNDP program and even the possibility of providing our own business workshops as a form of education which was received well by Losana. However we found out the UNDP is currently reviewing the project and Losana wasn’t sure if the program would be continued next year. However we gained a valuable contact at the UN and learned that there is possibility for future collaboration with them.

 

Courtney Daley Dec 7, 2017

Hi, I just want to commend your efforts because the strides you are making will impact the scalability of the project immensely. I have been looking through all the documents and your posts to keep up with progress on the project before I work on it in February but this post to me has by far shown the most impact on the project yet and it's exciting. The meeting with the Ministry of Industry is particularly interesting as it's an avenue that had not been previously explored much yet could lend us access to 50 000 potential clients, which is obviously massive. Keep up the great work Dec SoCon! I can't wait to see how the project further grows before I trek!

Reply 1

Larissa Steele Dec 8, 2017

Amazing work! Having those local contacts, support and partners really helps so much in the scalability and overall effectiveness of the business. The only thing I think is worth stressing is that you record/document and maintain those relationships. Stay in contact with them and even ask individuals for referrals to others they believe would be interested or would be able to help. Fiji is quite a tight knit community so I am sure if you ask, you will get heaps of introductions and suggestions.

Really make the most of these partners in developing and implementing the workshops.

On another note, I just happened to meet someone in Hong Kong who was telling me about this organisation/network called Global Shapers - check out the link:
https://www.globalshapers.org/

My understanding is that they are a community of people from all over the world, essentially bringing about change in their local communities called hubs. They were set up by World Economic Forum a few years back with the idea that many leaders tend to be of an older age i.e. the younger generation was being largely left out of their future.

Anyway, amazingly there looks to be a Suva hub: https://www.globalshapers.org/hubs/suva-hub

Might be worth checking them out and getting them involved!

Would also recommend you even join in Australia as they have hubs in cities all over the world which operate autonomously.

Keen to hear your thoughts and best of luck!

Reply 2

Adrian Brossard Dec 13, 2017

Hi Larissa,

Sorry for taking a while to reply, we've been super busy. Thank you for your feedback!

Those hubs look pretty interesting! I'm going to have a look at them today and see where we can fit them into the project!

Thanks for the luck!

Reply 0

Wade Tink Dec 22, 2017

What ended up happening with Global Shapers in Suva? I've read the remainder of your posts and skimmed the business plan (will read in detail later) and wanted to see if I have missed it or where it is at?

Reply 0

View all replies (2)
Share