News Item

Call for bold action by businesses investing in the Pacific

Industry Advice 27 Mar 2017

In Maori, Ākina is a meaning a call for bold action. This is exactly what the Ākina Foundation, which provides support to grow social enterprises, wants to see businesses with an interest in the Pacific do, says the Foundation’s Venture Manager (International) Chris Blues.

“The name Ākina also conveys a spirit of watchful and active encouragement, helping others to identify pathways through their challenges,” Chris says.

“Over time, we started to see that social enterprise could provide a powerful and proven vehicle for driving transformation and change.”

The Foundation believes social entrepreneurs and social enterprise represents an opportunity to build a new economy that regenerates the environment and creates social foundations for people to thrive, he adds.

Growing the emerging New Zealand social enterprise sector by activating talent, raising awareness and building capability for social enterprise is the Foundation’s primary focus, as well as supporting social enterprises to grow and increase their impact, and developing new market and investment opportunities for social enterprise.

Its vision is for a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive world, Chris says.

The Ākina Foundation works closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to find NZ businesses wanting to invest in Pacific Island countries.

It sees itself as acting as a bridge between MFAT and businesses that could benefit from accessing MFAT’s Pacific Private Sector Window (PPSW) funding.

“Our aim is to help businesses with the application process as we understand both business needs and development needs,” Chris says.

“This includes providing free advice and support to applicants to help them develop their concepts – we can also provide Pacific Island business and development context and advice.”

MFAT’s Pacific Private Sector Window (PPSW) fund provides grants of up to NZ$1 million for the following investment areas:

– Renewable Energy
– Agriculture
– Information and Communication Technology
– Fisheries
– Tourism, and
– Trade and Labour Mobility.

The PPSW is a contestable fund that aims to achieve development impact in Pacific Island countries by catalysing NZ private sector investment of knowledge, capital resources, and expertise in these countries.

It offers a co-investment in business ideas that will have positive economic and social impacts in Pacific Island countries and that are expected to be commercially sustainable.

The PPSW fund aims to support NZ businesses to grow their existing Pacific operations through a new approach that increases local development impact; source from Pacific producers and/or bring those producers into global supply chains; or make an investment in Pacific Island countries for the first time (building on a good track record of delivery).

Applications for Round 11 close mid-September 2017.

If you are interested, please get in touch with:

Chris Blues on +64 (0) 22 696 5019, or email at chris.blues@akina.org.nz or Dave Allison on +64 (0) 21 394 019, or email at dave.allison@akina.org.nz .

Visit Ākina Foundation for more information.

(Main picture caption: CBEC is a community enterprise the Akina Foundation currently works with.)

(Main picture caption: CBEC is a community enterprise the Akina Foundation currently works with.)