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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 21) – Tonga is the first Pacific Island country to be piloting an International Business Training program called CEFE [Competency-based Economies through the Formation of Entrepreneurs], which equips potential entrepreneurs with the skills for starting a business.

CEFE is based on an experimental learning approach that was developed by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)

[PIR editor’s note: GTZ, based in Eschborn, Germany, operates in 130 countries around the world. It’s mission is to help developing nations achieve sustainable economies. According to its website, GTZ works for the German Federal government and other clients, including the EU, World Bank or UN organisations, and for private sector companies. Its main client is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.]

Lusiana Kanaenabogi, the Chief CEFE Trainer from Fiji, is in Tonga to observe the workshop.

Lusiana, who runs her own consultancy program in Suva, worked with the Small Business Centre for three years before being contracted by SPC for the program.

The workshop is funded by the South Pacific Commission, and began on Monday, September 19 for ten days with of 22 participants.

Lusiana said the training has three modules. The first is Unlocking Competency, which is the evaluating of one's quality and skills.

The second module is matching a person and a business after the evaluation, followed by the participant selecting one type of business area that he or he wants to pursue and then to create a business plan, marketing strategy and organisational plan.

Lusiana said that the participants would conclude their training by presenting their business plan to local banks on Friday, September 28 for feedback.

"The bank officer's assessment is a very important concept because it allows participants to have realistic exposure and understand the sources of funding input", she said.

"This business training is more practical because it is not theory, participants are exposed to the business world and we invite local business operators to share their experiences."

Participants are mainly young people but they are joined by existing business operators like 'Ofa Simiki and Nova of Nova Store, who want to get a proper business training.

Lusiana said that SPC identified the need for capacity building in the Pacific region so they contracted her to hold a training of trainers in Suva earlier this year.

The three pilot countries to first try out the program are Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati and Tonga is also the first to begin.

"What we want to achieve out of this training is too see participants implement their business plan in the future", she said.

The Tongan trainers are 'Alisi Tuita from the Ministry of Education, Women's Affairs and Culture and Lavinia Palei from the Center for Women and Children.

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