TechInPacific – Vanuatu’s BLP Business Advisory Service Network had a meeting with partners’ representatives, such as the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the governments of New Zealand and Vanuatu on November 20, 2018. The meeting aimed at discussing BLP’s operation in its first year of operation in Vanuatu.
Actively involving partners to review its first-year operation is BLP’s way to improve quality for gaining success. Moreover, through the activities with local expertise, BLP wants to make sure that it will meet SMEs’ needs.
Speaking about the evaluation meeting with stakeholders, the BLP’s Deputy Director, Paul Wendland said: “We want to ensure efficiency and economic impact here in Vanuatu. BLP is serious about ensuring our local stakeholders are fully engaged in how we are tracking and telling us their thoughts about how we can improve our service delivery.”
He continued: “We got together this week – as we do it every six months – to hear first-hand about what is successful. We want to know what is working and what do we need to do to improve. Are we orientating to small business in a constructive way?”
Besides having a meeting with local stakeholders and partners, Vanuatu’s BLP also made an effort to interview Vanuatu SMEs. The interview was meant to identifying what kind of services they need so that BLP can improve their service in the future.
A series of interviews were taken by Kesha Licht, The VCCI-based BLP’s Business Service Support Specialist. She interviewed 56 Vanuatu SMEs last year using a tool called BLP’s Business Diagnostic and Referral.
Licht said that they had worked hard to make the interview format as simple as possible that SMEs can understand it. The method—BLP’s Business Diagnostic and Referral—they used is similar to ‘Dr.’s check-up’ for business.
“Currently, it’s face-to-face interview conducted via the VCCI that identifies the SMEs strengths and weaknesses and produces a useful report for the SME. It identifies what professional services the SME will benefit from. Then we refer them to professional business support from our local network and help by subsidizing these services,” Licht explained.
Next year, BLP plans on using Business Diagnostic services as a digital Android tool with strong report functions to guide and help SMEs to grow and develop. Moreover, it can be helpful for financial providers, such as banks.
“Interestingly, the top services we have identified as most needed by Vanuatu SMEs are: website development and e-commerce; social media campaigns and digital marketing services; financial services; accounting software (Xero), VAT compliance, investment and capital facilitation; business branding; and professional and organizational development mentoring,” Licht explained.