Opportunity to build connections

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Eseta Nadakuitavuki (seated left) and the US Embassy’s regional public diplomacy offi cer Stephanie Fitzmaurice are surrounded by women entrepreneurs who will travel to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

For the first time since the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) was established, a summit will be held this year providing the women a platform to connect and share ideas and experiences in running their own businesses, start up challenges and the opportunities available for them.

The AWE East Asia Pacific Summit is being held in Malaysia from March 6 to 9 with Fiji being represented by seven members of the AWE Fiji Alumnae.

The US Embassy’s regional public diplomacy officer Stephanie Fitzmaurice said launched in 2020, the AWE program has so far trained and graduated 300 women entrepreneurs.

“We have been fortunate to train more than 300 women entrepreneurs through the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs to help them gain skills, access to markets and valuable networks and in some cases launch a business,” she said.

She said the embassy had invested more than $150,000 in the program over the past few years.

The women who are going to be part of the summit are Josephine Fong who runs BooFj, Felichya Kayes from Aroma Kitchen, Litia Mccay of Caga Valley Farm, Sereana Tabuyaqona of Indoor Cuisine Consultants, Lanieta Marama who owns and operates Delai’s Design, Seruwaia Kabukabu from the Naitasiri Dairy Farm and owner of Nadro Events Solutions Milinia Naituyaga.

Ms Marama said this was going to be her first time to travel overseas and she was excited to be given the opportunity.

She started her business in 2019 and has been able to improve her business and products and increase her customer list over the years.

The Women Entrepreneurs Business Council (WEBC) which is part of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF), is the implementing part of the AWE program in Fiji.

Its chair Eseta Nadakuitavuki said this year would be the fourth year for WEBC to be the implementing partner with the Makoi Vocational Women’s Group.

The group leaves tomorrow for the three-day summit that is being held at The Gardens in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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