A small team of highly experienced business people, have previously and will again be brought here by the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce to support and mentor new and existing businesses in the country.
“In the meantime, we are canvassing for people who are interested,” says president of the Chamber of Commerce, Fletcher Melvin who, in the past, has also used the services of this mentoring project.
It is up to the individual on what issues concern them, says Melvin. “Clients will have access to impartial experience and advice, an impartial view of the economy.
“Getting into business, there are those who need a boost of confidence, this is the opportunity to sit and talk with someone, a sounding board to talk over ideas and plans for your business to strive.
“It’s also about strengthening management and business knowledge, we are all trying to strengthen businesses.”
The programme is ideal for someone who would like to develop their career.
Government department workers have also made use of the mentoring project and are encouraged to continue to do so.
For the first time, BSP has come on board providing sponsorship.
Bank of the South Pacific’s Country Manager, David Street says this as an excellent service, a great system for local businesses. “It’s really about finding solutions, and impartiality gives people more reassurance.”
The Chamber of Commerce facilitates the mentor programme, it is a process that continues throughout the year.
The mentoring started in April 2010 as a pilot project for the Pacific funded by NZ Aid, funding came to a halt in 2014, since then the Chamber of Commerce have sourced funding to continue the project.
Since 2016 158 business have enrolled, currently 77 businesses are being actively mentored.
With several visits to the island, the mentors now understand more about the local environment and the issues faced such as labour shortages.
The mentors are: Janet Brooker - a highly experienced New Zealand business woman with more than 30 years’ experience right up to senior management level; Deen Dayal - has been in business for over 30 years, he has international and corporate experience and has worked in multicultural and multinational business environments; Terry Gillespie - is a retired Yacht Mast and Rigging manufacturer who has taken on mentoring businesses, he has mentored 45 companies in the Cook Islands and 15 in New Zealand; Bruce Taylor - has spent more than 35 years managing and operating businesses both in New Zealand and Australia.