UQ Business School students encouraging entrepreneurship in the South Pacific islands
A new wave of entrepreneurs is now helping to revitalise South Pacific island economies with the support of the University of Queensland Business School. UQ Master of Business students are providing training for start-ups and small firms on the islands in an attempt to generate jobs and prosperity.
The business courses are part of a range of initiatives involving UQ students in the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Tonga and Fiji, in partnership with the University of the South Pacific.
Entrepreneur and training participant Lary Fatu has established Rarotonga Guided Tours to supplement his horticultural business income.
He drew inspiration from a visit to an overseas art gallery where visitors could hire MP3 players for guided tours. The UQ students helped him develop the business case for a similar concept. Mr Fatu said: “One of the important learnings that I took from the Australian student team is that you find inspiration for business opportunities from various places, not necessarily from the business sector you are in.” He plans to extend his business, developing specialist wildlife, botany, history and cultural tours.
Dr David Parker, a senior lecturer in UQ Business School, said a key theme of the projects was ‘economic gardening’ ─ enhancing economic growth by cultivating small firms. “We aim to create local businesses with global market reach,” he said. “Given the very small populations of the islands, it is important to generate more globally focused enterprises in addition to addressing the challenges they face at home.”
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