Tuesday 6 December 2016
Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop joined women in Honiara in marking the first ever networking association for women of Solomon Islands.
Pioneering members of the Solomon Islands Professional Women’s Network (SIPNET) –a platform for women to network, establish relationship, support each other and work towards common goals – were honoured by the presence of Hon Bishop and her delegation who joined local women in celebrating the inaugural ceremony.
The network was officially launched by Vice Chair of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Ms Katalaini Ziru, a successful lawyer and business entrepreneur herself.
Ms Ziru highlighted the challenges women in the Solomon Islands faced and that the network provides a space for like-minded individuals to collaborate and pursue common interest for women.
“I believe this network is an important forum for us. I can see this network become a place of consultation – where women share their stories and look to each other for mentoring, for guidance in how to further themselves in their professions,” said Ms Ziru who inspired the audience with her success story.
“But also a network that will promote our professional and personal development; where we can build our confidence, skills and connections as we climb the ladder even further; where we can gain new ideas and tools for tackling opportunities and challenges in the workplace.”
The network the first of its kind in the Solomon Islands was made possible by the joint efforts of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) with support from the Australian Government.
Hon Bishop met with over 50 women from various working sectors at the Coral Sea Casino & Resort, and used the opportunity to network with the participants.
“One of our main priorities in the aid program is gender equality and gender empowerment” said Hon Bishop when addressing the event.
“First we encourage women to take leadership roles in their families, in their communities, in civil societies, in government, in business and industry.
“This network is precisely the kind of initiative that we look to support in our aid program.”
She said she wants to see more women take on leadership roles in the Solomon Islands, but also acknowledged the cultural and social barriers.
“The Chamber is pleased to be a part of this important development for our professional women,” said SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.
“[Tuesday]’s launch marks a milestone achievement for women in the Solomon Islands and SICCI will continue its commitment to drive this initiative forward in coordination with the IFC and support from the Australian Government.
“We hope and encourage more women to join this network.”
The network will work with the private sector to promote the business case for investing in gender equality and to develop practical tools to improve recruitment, retention, and promotion of women employees.
Monday 5 December 2016
The Pacific Islands Trade & Investment (PTI) agency successfully met with exporters in Honiara in a bid to open up the New Zealand market to Solomon Islanders.
Twenty attendants from 15 export companies went through a day-long programme with PT&I that is spearheaded by the PT&I (NZ) Auckland branch with support from the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI).
Ian Furlong, the trade development manager of PT&I (NZ) described the training a big success and one that has attracted very keen interest compared with the programme in other Pacific countries.
It is the first time for PT&I to engage the Solomon Islands in this programme and is among 10 Pacific island countries to undergo the training this year.
The PT&I team will travel to Port Vila, Vanuatu next.
“There was good attendance and the people were good. Our objective is to help exporters in their business and the training on Thursday was very positive,” said Furlong.
Furlong conducted the training with PT&I COO & Head of Investment, Manuel Valdez.
Participants were briefed on the New Zealand market, the requirements and finances needed as well as selling and buying options.
The programme also equipped participants on effective business planning methods and marketing skills needed.
“At present most (Solomon Islanders) aren’t exporting to the New Zealand market and part of this programme is to encourage this market.
“New Zealand is an ideal market for entrepreneurs in the Solomon Islands and from the training we’ve found that the participants are very interested and want to know more.”
Thursday’s training, however is just the first phase of six steps of the programme.
Some five or six companies of the 15 who attended will be selected to join a sales mission to New Zealand next year. From there the attending companies will learn more of the mission and will get the opportunity to meet buyers where they can build their own relationship.
The programme runs through a timeline until March 2017.
SICCI Business Analyst Charles Persson who joined the programme on Thursday described it as highly professional with a great two-way interaction making attendees think creatively about their products.
“This programme provides excellence skills and networks for businesses to grow and access new markets.”
SICCI acknowledges the importance of exports to the Solomon Islands economy and looks forward to the next stage.
Sunday 28 November 2016
The White Ribbon campaign for the first time involved local businesses in the Solomon Islands when marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Honiara on Friday 25th November, 2016.
Businesses marched alongside supporters themed in white and orange from the Honiara City Council compound westward to the National Arts Gallery, Point Cruz.
Businesses participated in support of the “Safe Work Places” campaign – an initiative supported and jointly coordinated by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) with support from the Australian Government.
This marks the start of the umbrella initiative called Empowering Women in the Private Sector in Solomon Islands – which will be driven by SICCI and IFC.
The initiative will work to close gender gaps by fostering respectful workplaces for both women and men, promoting women in leadership, facilitating the recruitment of women in non-traditional jobs, creating supportive networks for professional women and assisting businesses to support their employees who are affected by domestic violence.
Friday’s parade was led by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, the police band, Honiara City Law Enforcement, RAMSI officers and involved a number of NGOs, Government ministries and local businesses.
Supporters marched at 8am from the Honiara City Council headquarter westward to the National Arts Gallery, Point Cruz where keynote speeches were made.
Businesses who pledged their support for the White Ribbon Day cause are:
· Solomon Islands National Provident Fund
· Our Telekom
· ANZ Bank
· Bank of South Pacific (BSP)
· Forum Fisheries Agencies (FFA)
· Solomon Breweries
· Tower Insurance
· AJ & G Blulms Ltd
· Nofokava Construction
· Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC)
· HKL Global Services Solomon Islands Ltd
· Skills for Economic Growth Program
Every year on November 25th the community at large supports the White Ribbon Day to mark the International Day to end violence against women.
Violence against women in Solomon Islands is a plague to the country’s economy and is a business case. High absenteeism of women affected by violence at home is also affecting local businesses.
Amongst other work the project will also support the initiating of a “professional women’s network” in the country to encourage women of high potential in the private sector.
Wednesday 23 November 2016
The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) congratulates the successful introduction of online registration for business applicants at the Business Registry.
The upgrade was launched on Tuesday, and comes with a new look of the Company Haus website which now caters to online applications for foreign investment licenses and business name registrations.
The launch was made possible by the joint efforts of the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour & Immigration (MCILI) and the Asia Development Bank (ADB) with support from the Australian and New Zealand governments as co-financers of ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).
The online service is a huge boost and will save business applicants the usual time and travel constraints.
SICCI Chair Jay Bartlett says this achievement is a very important milestone for the growth and enhancement of the business sector.
Mr Bartlett applauded the online services’ accessible reach for sole traders or SMEs who wish to join the formal economy.
“We encourage our local men and women to explore this exciting new opportunity,” the Chair urged.
“As a chamber we are continuingly looking for ways to better support new and small businesses that can create employment and jobs for our future.”
Hunter Masuguria, the MCILI Acting Permanent Secretary, launched the website upgrade at a ceremony that was attended by the government and private sector representatives, members of the diplomatic corp including the Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne and New Zealand High Commissioner Time Breese.
Mr. Masuguria said an important part of the online services is the improvement of the Company Haus data base.
“Knowledge informs the government. And an informed government can better serve its people,” said Mr Masuguria.
“Over time, as it has already been for companies, the registry will become a complete database of domestic and foreign, small and large businesses.”
The new Company Haus website can be accessed on www.solomonbusinessregistry.gov.sb