Toolkit on Anti-Corruption Launched in Samoa for Women Entrepreneurs

29 November 2022 – The Samoa Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) project, officially launched its Toolkit on Anti-Corruption for Women-Owned Businesses in Salelologa and Fagamalo, Savaii on November 22-23 and in Apia, Upolu on November 25.

The toolkit was an activity conducted by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, in its efforts to raise awareness and promote businessintegrity in the private sector with a focus on women entrepreneurs. The toolkit was launched alongside the delivery of three workshops on anti-corruption for women entrepreneurs, held in Savaii and Upolu. The guide aims to assist business owners on how to protect their businesses against corruption, methods to detect and prevent acts of corruption, knowledge of the regulations and laws in Samoa, and which relevant Government ministries and agencies to approach for assistance.

These anti-corruption workshops were tailored for Samoan women business owners and women interested in addressing corruption risks in their own communities. Through these workshops, Samoan women entrepreneurs were able to share their experiences in strengthening internal business
control mechanisms, ethics and compliance in women-owned/managed businesses.

“As the National Private Sector Organization in Samoa, we want to lead by example and provide awareness and support for women entrepreneurs on how to protect their businesses from corruption. The dialogue exchanged at these workshops is very important so we can understand the challenges
faced by businesses and work together to find solutions,” said Lote Lima, Member Services Manager Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Women’s empowerment and gender equality, including efforts to prevent corruption and promote business integrity in the Pacific, are vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. This ongoing initiative in Samoa is part of UNDP’s strong commitment to making gender equality a reality in the Pacific. This workshop is part of a series of integrity-strengthening efforts offering advice on how to protect businesses from corrupt practices that women entrepreneurs identified they were confronted with. Corruption can have a devastating impact on local businesses, particularly as businesses emerge from the challenges of COVID-19,” said Christina Mualia, Assistant Resident Representative – Governance and Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP.

During the workshops, participants shared their challenges and experiences in detecting and addressing acts of corruption within their communities and business operations and discussed potential solutions. The workshop in Apia featured a panel session that included Osana Liki-Ward,
Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Public Service Commission and Maiava Eneleata Samau, Compliance Manager of FEXCO Samoa, who presented on anti-corruption measures set in place in the public and private sectors. This gave participants an opportunity to understand the regulations and laws in place in Samoa that address corruption and why it is vital to safeguard business operations from corruption.

These workshops are part of the Chamber’s work around anti-corruption, to raise awareness on corruption in the private sector. A total of eight workshops have been conducted since July 2021. The toolkit on Anti-corruption for Women-Owned Businesses is now available at the Samoa Chamber of Commerce’s office.


Private Sector Engagement with Government on Climate Change Adaptation

APIA, SAMOA – The Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) through the support from the Pacific Adaptation To Climate Change And Resilience Building (PACRES) Project, coordinated a workshop on Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events for Private Sector engagement. The workshop objectives were to raise private sector awareness on climate science risks and extreme weather events, as well as identify the role of the private sector in national strategies that address climate change under key development sectors such as agriculture, tourism, energy, transport and environment.

“We are fortunate, through the Public Private Partnership, to have the support and participations of the relevant Government ministries and agencies in today’s workshop – the technical expertise and experience from our list of presenters today is warmly welcomed, and we look forward to this great opportunity for dialogue in climate change impacts on the private sector,” said SCCI Members Services Manager, Lote Lima in her opening remarks.

The workshop offered a venue for direct communication between representatives of the private
sector and relevant government stakeholders about formulation of policies and the implementation of national climate adaptation strategies. Accessing resources and the prioritized industry sectors where these resources are distributed are two common issues that business owners raised. With these key development sectors identified, participants were able to learn on the respective sector strategies, the supporting activities and the expected outcomes. Equally important are programs, projects, and opportunities for engagement through awareness and visibility, to capacity building or actual implementation through services and supply of goods.

One of the participants, Saifagaloa Sala-Leafa of Pacific Express Samoa Inc. Ltd commented, “I felt that I gained very good overview of the reality of climate change and how I should steer the direction of our company especially in terms of its Business Continuity Planning to ensure that we not only adapt to climate change impacts, but at same time, to be more mindful of how we
could contribute to mitigating actions to counter climate change. Personally, I came away feeling a bit more informed on how I could continue dialogue with my staff and work colleagues of ‘how can we help’ and ‘how can we prepare and adapt’. It was certainly a lot of information to try to take in at a small time, but I feel that I have enough info to look into this important matter at a greater detail.”

“The discussions and exchange shall inform an Engagement Strategy for the private sector on climate change that will be developed. This shall guide the role of the private sector in addressing adaptation response as well as mitigation efforts through simplified and accessible climate financing.” Technical Advisor, Ulu Bismark Crawley.

The Samoa Chamber is appreciative of these opportunities and the assistance of the Government and our regional partners in interacting with business about climate change-related issues and exchanging best practices in disaster risk management and mitigation strategies.


Building CSO Grant Management Capacities to Support Samoa’s Transition to a Circular Economy

Apia, Samoa – On Tuesday 8th and Thursday 10th November, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted a series of Capacity Building Workshops, targeting pivotal civil-society organisations (CSOs) in the waste management sector, in their capacities as both waste generators as well as enabler of waste recycling and recovery.

The workshop, conducted through the Circular Economy for the Recovery of (CERO) Waste Programme, included representatives from Samoa’s two prominent waste management associations, the Samoa Recycling and Waste Management Association (SWRMA) and the Samoa and Tokelau Association of Recyclers (S.T.A.R.), as well as representatives from key industry associations, the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (SAME), Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the Samoa Hotels and Hospitality Association (SHHA).

The participants were able to absorb the expert knowledge and advice from SCCI on understanding the donor world, budgeting and cash flow, compliance, due diligence, donor grant management, accounting issues and donor reporting. The first training session provided participants with a holistic overview of the donor world, allowing CSOs to better understand the process of accessing funding and improve their skills in submitting applications for grants. The second training session provided a more in-depth understanding of grant management and donor reporting. This session was targeted for CSOs management level staff
and executive members and covered writing grant proposals, submitting applications for funding, and the importance of compliance towards funding agreements.

“The biggest challenge CSOs face is they find it very difficult to understand the donor world and compliance, this workshop is about bridging that gap to help our CSOs understand those challenges and better access those grant opportunities,” said SCCI CEO Lemauga Hobart Vaai.
One of the participants, Joyce Teo, representing SWRMA said, “As a youth activist, I am honored to be part of this [training] and thankful for the opportunity to learn new things that expose me to practical skills development for project management. This experience will no doubt enhance my future career progression and importantly allow me to contribute more to my role at SWRMA”.

In addition, SWRMA President Marina Keil spoke about the impact this capacity building training will have on their organization moving forward, “The training today was very useful. We learnt a lot of things that can help us with our organisation in terms of writing a successful proposal as well as being transparent in our work, in terms of reporting and expenditure. I hope to use the lessons today and implement it on a daily basis for the association so that we can help build the association to be more successful in the future,”.

Hans Wesche of S.T.A.R., who attended both trainings, also shared how these Grant Management trainings would benefit S.T.A.R.’s future operations, “What I’ve learnt is the importance of compliance and that compliance cannot be bent. We have to stick by what the donors want and I think that’s what everyone needs to go by. I would also like to extend appreciation to UNDP and SCCI. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to participate this week, thank you”.

The workshops concluded with UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Lepale Aussie Simanu, providing his closing remarks, stating “First of all, on behalf of UNDP, I congratulate all participants of both workshops for their proactive engagement and successful completion of the two CSO Grant Management trainings. CSOs are the engines of sustainable development which means it is crucial that they are supported through capacity building to ensure entities have the necessary grant management skills to comply with the oftentimes complex and diverse donor requirements. UNDP encourages participants to apply and proactively pass down the knowledge attained to build accountable, dynamic and compliant
teams that share a culture of good practice in donor engagement and grant management.

It is also important to acknowledge the gender diversity witnessed across the two days, particularly in light of a traditionally male-dominant waste management sector, therefore UNDP commends the women in leadership present today and the active engagement of youth across the organisations who are not only driving Samoa’s circular economy but paving the way for gender equality and equity in waste management.”



PACER Plus Implementation Unit Meets with Chamber Members

Apia, Samoa – Samoa Chamber of Commerce held its first monthly Members Meeting for 2022 on Monday 31st October 2022 at the Hotel Elisa Conference Room, after being on hold since the last members meeting in November 2021 due to the lockdown. The Chamber Members Meetings serve as a forum for all Chamber members and members of the private sector, to be given an update on the work conducted by the Chamber Executive Council and Secretariat including policy issues being addressed to government officials and the sharing of any upcoming opportunities for the business community. The October Members Meeting for 2022 was sponsored by the PACER Plus Implementation Unit.

The October Members Meeting chaired by Chamber Vice President, Fa’aso’otauloa Sam Saili, was attended by 45 Chamber members. During the meeting CEO Lemauga Hobart Vaai provided members with a policy update focusing on private sector issues raised in the last quarter, including funding opportunities for the private sector. Business Link Pacific Manager John Lemoa also updated members on
the programme’s Phase II, expected to start early 2023, in which Business Link Pacific and the SME Finance
Facility activities will combine into a single programme and extended to cover 12 Pacific Island Countries.

The Special Presentation for the evening was provided by Alipate Tavo, Trade and Investment Adviser of the PACER Plus Implementation Unit. The presentation included what PACER Plus means for Samoa and the role of the PACER Plus Implementation Unit, which works with Samoa’s focal point, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Chamber welcomes 21 new members to its membership since the last Members Meeting in October
2021. The meeting was followed by a networking session hosted by the PACER Plus Implementation Unit. 

L-R: Luke Marston (PPIU Design and Development Adviser), Lemauga Hobart Vaai (SCCI CEO), Fa’aso’otauloa Sam
Saili (SCCI Vice President), Dr. Alisi Holani (PPIU Labour Mobility Specialist) and Alipate Tavo (PPIU Trade and
Investment Adviser).


Chamber Members Meeting


Ten Young Entrepreneurs complete 8-week YCL Internship Programme

31 October 2022 – Through the generous support of the British High Commission Apia,
the Samoa Chamber of Commerce (SCCI) in partnership with the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a graduation ceremony in honor of the ten (10)
youth entrepreneurs that completed the 8-week Youth Co:Lab Internship Programme from
the 23rd August to the 18th October 2022.

This program served as a supplementary business support initiative for youth
entrepreneurs that participated in the latest Youth Co:Lab Samoa National Dialogue 2022,
an incubator program that aims to empower and equip young people to operate startup
businesses of their own.

“This is the first time we have added an internship component to the Youth Co:Lab
programme, for young entrepreneurs to gain work experience and an insight in the
operations and standards of a work placement that can help your capacity growth for your
own business,” said Ms. Lote Lima, Memberservices Manager of the Samoa Chamber of

“The Samoa Chamber of Commerce has long strived to ensure its services and programs
benefit not only the private sector in Samoa, but also Samoa’s young aspiring
entrepreneurs. Over the years, we have seen a great increase in interest in the Youth
Co:Lab programme since its first in 2018. This has indicated that more and more youth are
now focusing on building their own businesses that can help address social issues, help
communities and enhance technology development,” said Ms. Lima.

These youths that took up this opportunity have entrepreneurial interests and startups in
varying sectors including: elei and t-shirt printing, handcrafted adornments, cake baking,
social media marketing, online retail, and recycling. As early stage entrepreneurs, each of
the youth participants were excited for mentorship from industry experts to build their
capacity on operating a local business. Prior to the start of the program, the Samoa
Chamber of Commerce ran a soft-skills training to best prepare the youth interns for their
work placements.

We acknowledge the support of our private sector partners – Radio Polynesia, Digicel
Samoa, KEW Consult, EnCode Software Solutions, Onelook Studio, Samoa Institute of
Directors, Geeking Up Samoa and the Development Bank of Samoa Savaii for serving as
work placements for the youth interns. Under the leadership and guidance of these
organizations, the interns have shared improved skills in bookkeeping and accounting
software, website development, digital literacy, cloud-based software and systems,
communication and marketing strategies, product testing and research, customer service
and more.
The Keynote Address was given by His Excellency Mr. David Ward, British High
Commissioner to Samoa, who echoed Ms. Lima’s words of congratulations and encouraged
the next phase of the graduates’ entrepreneurial journey with a challenge for themselves
and for a better Samoa,

“And so I want to say to those who are graduating today from this 8-week program is to be
ambitious, for if you do not do this then the chances for progress for Samoa, the chances for
a better life for those around you, are less than they would be if you do not use what you
have learned. Take a risk, be ambitious and work for yourselves and for Samoa,” said HE
David Ward.

“If you can achieve that, I would be delighted and the people of Samoa will be one step
closer to achieving the [Sustainable Development Goals] and one step closer to a richer,
safer, securer society that they all want to live in.”