Tribute to women entrepreneurship

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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CONGRATULATIONS: Moata’a Centre’s President, Leafa Matauiau with Founder and President of S.P.B.D., Gregory Casagrande.

CONGRATULATIONS: Moata’a Centre’s President, Leafa Matauiau with Founder and President of S.P.B.D., Gregory Casagrande. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

The Moata’a Centre is the overall winner of the South Pacific Business Development (S.P.B.D.) Microfinance’s 16th Annual Businesswoman Awards.

They were awarded during the celebration yesterday which kicked off with a parade on Beach Road, led by the Police band towards the Tu’utu’uileloloto hall.

Hundreds of mothers from different centres in Upolu, Savai’i, Manono and Apolima joined government officials and special guests for the joyous occasion.

Among them was the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell.  The ceremony was to applaud and recognise the entrepreneurial zeal and business achievement of women leaders who have made a mark in the community in their chosen fields.

Founder and President of S.P.B.D., Gregory F. Casagrande, congratulated all the entrepreneurial mothers and encouraged them to dream big.

“I encourage you to be ambitious and don’t be afraid to dream big. Make grand plans for your business, for yourself and for your family,” he said.

“If you set your sights and ambitions too low then you will never know what might have been.” He warned them however that there would be obstacles along the way.

 “You may not achieve everything that you set out to do and that is okay, there will be many obstacles but a tenacious person will persevere and find new ways around those obstacles.

“You don’t need to change the world in one day, you just need to keep moving forward and when you get knocked down, get back and keeping making small steady progress each day.

President Casagrande encouraged the women to be grateful always and lead a good virtuous life.

 “Being grateful for the countless blessings, small, large, that we have each and everyday is at the foundation of leading a happy and good life.

“So I encourage you to be grateful and then let that gratitude carry through so that you are truly decent, caring human beings.”

S.P.B.D. has over seven thousand micro entrepreneurs spread across all of Samoa. The organisation has provided them with over $100million in unsecured credit.

“And as many of you may know, the success you created here in Samoa has enabled S.P.B.D. to spread further throughout the region to provide meaningful economic opportunity to women in micro-entrepreneurs in Tonga, Fiji and the Solomon islands.

Ajay Verma, General Manager, S.P.B.D Samoa, said their role is to direct women and give them a helping hand. 

She spoke about the ‘never say die’ attitude of the women entrepreneurs of Samoa.

Overall Winner, Moata'a Centre.
Overall Winner, Moata'a Centre.
Best Business Woman of the Year, A'aone Ripine with Pauli Shuren and S.P.B.D. Founder, Mr Gregory Casagrande.
Best Business Woman of the Year, A'aone Ripine with Pauli Shuren and S.P.B.D. Founder, Mr Gregory Casagrande.
Best Business Woman of the Year,  Faalo Tiumalu.
Best Business Woman of the Year, Faalo Tiumalu.
One of many finalists at the ceremony.
One of many finalists at the ceremony.
Most Creative and Innovative Centre, Lefaga.
Most Creative and Innovative Centre, Lefaga.

“All that these exceptional women needed was a nudge in the right direction, training on setting up of and management of small business and ready access to finance.

“Their initiative, determination to make a difference and sheer hard work has done the rest. Our association with them is a matter of pride for us. 

“Today I salute the spirit of these successful entrepreneurs and enjoin upon them to pass on this message of empowerment to their fellow women. 

“Empowered women is what every family and nation should strive for because herein lie the seeds of a better, more prosperous future for all of us.”

Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell congratulated all the mothers especially winners of this year’s ceremony.

After 17 years, S.P.B.D. have successfully worked with over 22,000 families in over 280 villages spread across Samoa.

The S.P.B.D’s mission is centred on the importance of offering an opportunity and ongoing motivation to improve the quality of life of individuals living in poverty, by providing them access to financial services.

In keeping with its mission of helping the underprivileged through its innovative product and services.

The S.P.B.D. has five key product offerings; (1)S.M.E. loan for funding needs of clients with mature and larger businesses, (2) overseas Worker loan for overseas travel for work by a member, (3) spouse insurance, (4)higher education  loans and (5) Inter Island Money Transfer service.

 

The Annual Business Women Awards are a salute to these winners;

S.P.B.D. Best Saver of the Year 2016 – Maria Tui, Utulaelae Centre

S.P.B.D. Micro Businesswoman of the Year 2016 – Aaone Ripine, Salani Centre

S.P.B.D. Business Woman of the Year 2016 – Faalo Tiumalu, Tuasivi Centre

S.P.B.D. Overall Best Centre for 2016 – Moata’a Centre

© Samoa Observer 2016

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