Leilua Matau proudly showing off a high prized catch
By Natu Samuelu Tafuna’i
APIA, SAMOA –MONDAY 03 JULY 2017: Leilua Matau of Sataua, Savai’i is continuing a family business started by his parents 42 years ago, the Tuitama Ma’ana Falemalu Fish business.
Having been in the business for that long, Leilua anticipates the elements as he fishes for the high prized Vernacular fish – malau and sells them to hotels and resorts around Savai’i island.
Leilua’s business was one of many local small businesses that were showcased and given moral support during the Small Business Enterprises Corporation (SBEC) Trade Fair Show under the theme Driving Sustainable Business Growth & Recognizing Excellence infront of the Government Building last week.
He said the earnings has served for his family economically and has also contributed to the development of his family and village by employing more village youths to work for him.
“There are times I have difficulty fishing the malau due to the weather but we try our best to continue the business,” said Leilua.
Other small businesses featured at the fair include handicrafts, agricultural goods and artworks.
“The government believes in the power of small businesses to impact positive changes that can improve our economy, and the office of SBEC is a key agent in driving these changes,” said Minister for Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell when he opened the Fair.
SBEC has been instrumental in the development of small businesses in Samoa for more than 20 years especially those in the rural communities and Savai’i.
“SBEC has worked with the financial institutions to encourage our entrepreneurs to push the limits, be it cultural, social and economic and see the value of small businesses through business trainings, mentoring and access to financial services, and the Government continues to support the development of businesses and the private sector in its national plans and programs,” said Lautafi.
He said despite Samoa’s geographic isolation, her small economy is still exposed to vulnerabilities that are brought about by the changes in the global economy, factors such financial crisis, exchange rates and interest rates, and these can hugely affect our small businesses.
“We should not be discouraged because there are always opportunities. Savaii has some of the most fertile soil in the Pacific and there is wealth right in our backyards. Agriculture will always have a market as long as there are people in the world and Savaii holds tremendous potential to benefit from working this sector.”
He said there is a need to “improve our trade both locally and internationally and for this to happen we must continuously undertake research and analysis on opportunities available, and market competitiveness so that businesses have a better understanding of their enabling environment and help them grow. Technology is fast changing the way businesses are inducted, and the government is working to make sure that our small businesses and the private sector are not left behind,” encouraged the Minister.
“To all our businesses present here today, your families depend on you, our villages depend you, our government depends on you and our economy depends on you.
“SBEC and the government can only provide the opportunities, but you are in the driver’s seat to drive this needed Growth,” he stated.