SEAANZ Enterprise Academy launches in Fiji
SEAANZ Academy was developed by the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand as a program to help meet two of its pillars of encouraging enterprise education and practice. The Academy builds on academic research into best practice programs for encouraging nascent and novice entrepreneurs, in particular youth aged from 15 to 35.
Doctoral candidate Eric Clock and his supervisor Winthrop Professor Tim Mazzarol, from the University of Western Australia, developed the program and delivered in Fiji during October 2016. The Enterprise Workshop was run over five days from 11-15 October with assistance from the Graduate School of Business (GSB) at the University of the South Pacific (USP). It was supported by Senior Fellow and Deputy Dean of the GSB Mesake Nawari and staff from the USP.
This workshop was designed to encourage young people who may have not had experience in business to learn how to work with others, use their creativity, build their confidence, and apply their effort to designing and launching an enterprising project.
This five-day program took place at the GSB USP's Statham Campus in Suva, Fiji. During the course the participants worked in teams to better understand themselves, improved their networking capabilities, created a pop-up business, and validated the business concept in the market.
This practical action orientated workshop takes individuals through the basic steps of starting a team based business. It is designed for people interested in starting a business, or those who want to further enhance their understanding of entrepreneurship.
The key themes of this workshop were developed around Effectuation Theory: "Who am I", "Who do I know", "What do I know". These three themes were interlaced within activities that focused on individuals being able to better understand themselves and how they work in a team.
Creative problem solving, idea generation, and business basics were used to help individuals work through four steps of action, review, interpret, and plan. These four steps are one of many tools used to help individuals, understand what has been learnt from taking action and application of the lessons learnt.
The first three days involved building the individuals' self-confidence and teamwork skills. Guest speakers provided examples of local entrepreneurs who shared their stories and helped to motivate the participants. By the end of the third day the participants, working in four teams, developed their idea into a preliminary business model. This was assessed by a panel of experts who "stress tested" the business, with questions about customer value, pricing and costing. Only one team decided to take a small interest free loan to finance their business.
All teams worked most the night and early in the morning to get their enterprise projects ready for the market that took place on the fourth day. They were still working on these for most of the morning and there was a lot of creative tension as the starting time of 11AM approached. The groups then took their business into the market, each with a minimum viable product ready to sell.
By the end of the day all teams were able to declare that they had made a net profit of around 50%. They were tired but excited and motivated having proven that their business idea could work in reality. On the final day the instructional staff workshoped the participants through a personal assessment of the things they had learnt and what they now felt that they could do in the future.
SEAANZ, in conjunction with the USP GSB, will continue to monitor these participants and assess their progress.
Feedback from the participants
"Firstly, many thanks for having us at the workshop. It has been such a big blessing and an eye opener for me especially. I am now in the process of writing our groups business plan and I am excited. I also have an idea for my own business now. The friendship and the bond made has also been a big blessing...and I'm so grateful for the opportunity given and God's divine appointment that not only was I able to learn sooooooo much but also make new friends that I am really blessed to have as most of them are so passionate for the Lord. Thanks again Sir for one of the most epic 5 days of my life." (Female participant)
“Heaps of fun, I did not want to become part of workshop and did not want anything to do with business or money. I agreed to join just for friend. I am very glad that I came. I have totally learnt a lot about new things that I had never heard before. And also met new friends. My group really complemented each other. We collaborated with each other and stayed up all night to 11:30 PM and while our artist could not join us she did well, she did 11 of our cards and Nathan did more artistic work and he helped to sell our products. Nathan helped to lift the sale price from $10 to $11 to $12. However, we need to prioritize. We got worried when our artist did not show up but we thought we will do this and we motivated us, pushed us and we got our second artist and we got the different cards. We got our sales, we are happy and we are happy with our business and if we had more cards we would have sold more cards. I am very happy with our group and I’m still learning and overall we enjoyed the business exercise.” (Female participant)
“Like to thank the group for the idea. I also wish to thank the two interpreters too. We were doing two things, the shoe shine and the lamington and Natalie (singer). For me personally it was a real eye opener. Because we have for two years being doing our business back in the village, but we now see that we have to apply certain things and ideas to help make the business work.” (Male participant)
“Thank you, ours was a hell of an experience for me. Our first stop was on the campus and we went to the ladies working here, they told us to come back at 1’o’clock. So we went door to door and the sun was very hot and we were all sweating and we caught the bus, we went to the campus, and it was an experience. But I liked her because was able to network a lot as we went around the offices and this helped her business. We went at the wrong time, this was not their pay week, next week is pay week, but we got some orders for next week. We all loved the experience of going out and having to face the customers out there. We learn a lot from this experience of just one week. I have been to many business workshops and this one is the best as it is hands on training as many Fijian workshops is just sitting down calculating but this one is doing things and experience.” (Male participant)
“Our experience from the business we did today. We covered everything and via brain storming we were able to cover everything we did. I went to my area to sell the Roti and went past the apartment and they saw me and asked what is in the bag. I said it was a $3 roti and they asked why they are more than $1, and I explained that the packaging was special and there was a message inside. They bought three. I went to the bar and there were people drinking and I was asked about the roti and they were surprised about $3 but they liked them and purchased all my roti for that price, because they were drinking and hungry. I was very happy that we sold everything in only 1 hour. But we can learn how to make the product packaging faster. I learnt about team work and working with each other and communication and prioritizing the time.” (Female participant)