iTaukei Trust Fund Board Partners with Market Development Facility to Support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s)

The iTaukei Trust Fund Board (TTFB) and the Market Development Facility today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sees the establishment of Business Development Services (BDSs) to support iTaukei and Rotuman Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through a robust capacity-building and upskilling training in business management, leadership and entrepreneurial competencies. The MOU heralds in a new era of closer cooperation between these two organisations towards the sustainable advancement of resource owner entrepreneurial initiatives.


Above: Malcom Bossley Country Director for MDF on the left and Aisake Taito CEO TTFB on the right, at the MOU signing today.

Every business environment has inherent operational challenges, some are capital in nature whilst some are technical. Fiji of course is no different. The existence of these challenges has over time somewhat deterred and staggered iTaukei and Rotuma entrepreneurial ambitions. Through these BDSs, TTFB and MDF hope to counter and alleviate some of the more fundamental ones, to ensure the sustainable longevity of resource owner-based businesses.

“Australia’s MDF is excited at the opportunity to partner with TTFB to support more indigenous participation and engagement in business. This artnership will provide a platform for MDF to work closely with TTFB to address challenges faced by the iTaukei and Rotuman business communities in accessing effective business training and advisory support”, says Malcolm Bossley, MDF Country Director.

MDF had undertaken a Community Engagement Study which revealed there remains gaps in understanding by both business and local ommunities when it comes to developing sustainable business engagement models. To help address this, under this MDF-TTFB partnership, MDF will work on capacity building of TTFB’s local Entrepreneurship Development Advisers, so they are better able to support indigenous entrepreneurship and business growth. The two organizations will also collaborate on the development of a simple guide that will assist local communities to engage more effectively with the private sector and provide a framework for the consultation and development of more
sustainable business models and practices.

TTFB’s CEO Aisake Taito says “we are also pleased to partner with MDF as they have a broad hands-on experience in empowering communities within developing countries across the world, especially in Fiji, the Pacific and Asia. MDF will inject its training strengths and guidance in this initiative, which our communities will be able to access first-hand. This initiative satisfies one of our strategic mandates, which is to support and guide the management, leadership and entrepreneurial skills of iTaukei and Rotumans. And on that note, we look forward to a successful partnership”.

Fiji’s current COVID-19 situation has exacerbated an already trying economic conditions for iTaukei and Rotuman entrepreneurs. Through this MOU, both organisations are optimistic of turning some of these impediments around. As part of this MOU, both organisations have also agreed to share information on research and activities, that will improve the understanding of the MSME landscape, challenges and opportunities in Fiji.

TTFB and MDF also have agreed to build capacity around business training and mentoring through a ‘Train the Trainers’ programme. This will be complemented with a result monitoring and measurement system. TTFB will coordinate the face-to-face or online training whilst MDF will provide international master trainers supported by relevant in-country MDF personnel and resources.

This MOU builds on existing collaborations and will act as a catalyst for greater information and knowledge sharing between the two parties, including technical support for collateral development like guides/handbooks, for the broader private sector engagement. This is envisioned to strengthen and support sustainable business engagements with iTaukei and Rotuman communities.