South Tarawa, Oct 10 – This week, experienced local business owners and people interested in starting businesses took part in Kiribati Greenpreneurs Week – an event aimed at cultivating development of local businesses and supporting them in addressing environmental or social issues as a core part of their business model. The week consisted of two separate one-and-a-half workshops and was jointly organized by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Pacific Community’s Pacific Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SPC PCREEE). Over twenty participants joined each event.
The first workshop, entitled “Jumpstart Your Green Business” and led by GGGI in partnership with the Pacific Green Business Centre, focused on supporting new entrepreneurs in developing business concepts and understanding principles of green business development. Participants learned about trends in agriculture, waste, and low-impact tourism in Kiribati, requirements for starting a business in the country, and studied examples of existing successful green businesses in the Pacific region. Each participant was paired up with a mentor experienced in starting and running their own business.
The second workshop, “Entrepreneurship in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency,” was led by SPC PCREEE and brought together new and established energy industry stakeholders to hear experiences and the type of business that can be generated from the sector, as well as to pave the way for youth and others to start or improve their own businesses or find employment opportunities in both the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. The sessions provided a deep dive into various facets of the energy sector in Kiribati and the rest of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Topics covered included opportunities in the local energy sector, business registration in Kiribati, opportunities in the various sectors, funding and various support opportunities available to youth.
A lunch reception sponsored by ANZ Bank facilitated networking opportunities among participants and mentors in the two workshops. Ms. Roreti Eritai, Director of the Business Promotion Center of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Cooperatives stated “Entrepreneurship is very important for Kiribati, in order to provide good job and income generating opportunities for youth and other marginalised groups. By creating green businesses, you are not just making money for yourself, but also helping improve your environment, your community, and your country.”
Dr. Kristin Deason, GGGI’s Pacific Regional officer, commented that “I’m very excited to see the high level of interest in starting up local businesses here in Kiribati. Some of our participants have business ideas that could make a real impact on the environmental sector, and we are looking forward to helping them make these dreams a reality.”
The SPC PCREEE representative Mr. Peceli Nakavulevu in opening the second workshop outlined that “with climate change issues and the ratification of the Paris Agreement, countries urgently need to leapfrog into low emission economies. In recent years individual countries in the PICTs have adopted the game changer by moving towards renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) technologies. Unfortunately this well-intended initiative has lacked the necessary support that would have complemented the approach and position RE & EE as the obvious way to go for the PICTs.” The workshop also provided a platform to also introduce specific SPC – PCREEE initiatives through the launch of its, i) the Sustainable Energy Research Support Fund, ii) the Innovation Competition and iii) the Sustainable Energy Business Development Support Facility.”