Crouch, Pause – Engage!
Someone once lamented: “The opportunity of a lifetime is in the lifetime of the opportunity.” Attending the recent ICDP Financial Education Dialogue certainly made me realise the opportunities to learn, relearn and collaborate with other like-minded Pacific Islanders who have the passion to make a difference.
The combination of a structured and semi-structured format of the proceedings allowed individuals to share their passion and to connect at a deeper level.
It was encouraging to note that one is not alone in this entrepreneurial journey, and that help is just an email, phone call or maybe a coffee away. The Pacific Connect Dialogues indeed have a way of engaging Pacific Islanders in a very meaningful way. It allowed us to better understand the needs of Pacific Island nations with entrepreneurship and business growth potential.
Financial education is critical and relevant to everyone. It is very much relevant to the Pacific, and in particular ‘Pacific entrepreneurs.’ Amidst the laughter and jokes which is synonymous for any Pacific gathering, was this deeper connection and realisation on the need to be financially savvy.
We agreed to disagree, we shared our experiences and learnings from our entrepreneurial journey and, in the end, vowed to continue to collaborate and network to see key action items (projects) over the line.
It wasn’t until visited the Fishburners Business Accelerator that I was able to fully understand, the opening statement of my blog; that the opportunity to make a difference will not come tomorrow, not in the future, but is present now. Time was ticking, and I got a sense that one of the ways to bring change was to collaborate and connect.
I left with a greater sense of appreciation of my entrepreneurial journey and look forward to working with ICDP in collaborating both with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Pacific Islanders in business development and capacity building.
There is definitely something exciting brewing in the Pacific entrepreneurship landscape and I am reassured that the Pacific and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders are slowly awakening to take our rightful place in the economic and entrepreneurial arena. Move over – crouch and pause, it’s time to engage.
James is a Senior Business Advisor at Strongim Bisnis. His interest In financial inclusion and education started 10 years ago with the Reserve Bank of Fiji and I was involved in many ground breaking policy initiatives designed to promote financial inclusion, the highlight being the lead Digital finance Analyst and designing policies that allowed innovative financial products like mobile money into the market. He’s an advisor to Sons of Solomon Islands - an NFP designed to find meaningful solutions to Solomon Islanders in poverty and Founder of Melanesia Advisory Service and Co-Founder, MJ Enterprises, a social enterprise with a mission to positively impact Solomon Islander women.