ILO and Chamber Promoting Social Protection through Youth Internship

APIA, SAMOA – The Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) conducted an orientation training on soft skills for youth interns and university students on Tuesday 6th December at Hotel Elisa Conference. The Youth Internship Programme is purposed to provide work placement opportunities for the youth to experience the work environment, gain practical knowledge and skills in the real world, as well as exploring potential pathways for their professional careers.

The participants including 17 females and 2 males were able to learn and engage in discussions on key soft skill topics such as communications and interpersonal skills, teamwork, work ethics, time management and goal setting.

The ILO Coordinator for Samoa, Laufiso Tomasi Peni states, “One of the ultimate purposes of social protection is to ensure the right protection for the most vulnerable groups or individuals in any society.” In Samoa, half or 50% of its population are below the age of 21 years. The youth population (i.e those between the age of 15 and 35 years old) amounts to 32% of the total population. Given such a young population, the most vulnerable groups in Samoa include the youth, women, children, and persons living with disabilities. The ongoing development challenge in Samoa is the high youth unemployment and school dropouts with more than 37% of the youth not in employment, not in education, or not in training. The social protection mechanisms need to respond to address this challenge so that youth and their families are not living in poverty and are able to find decent employment and standard of living.

ILO and SCCI would like to continue this support under the SP-JP to sustain the positive progress and momentum built through previous initiatives such as the Talavou Program, Youth Employment Programme (YEP) and the Youth Co-lab. The support involves technical support and funding to coordinate and facilitate the Youth Internship Program with the primary focus on Labour market services designed and scalable in Samoa to improve working age populations’ access to jobs and incomes – with specific attention to ensuring access for women, persons living with disability, and young people.

The youth interns have been placed on a 4-week internship program throughout December with private sector partners of various sectors including restaurants, retail, state owned enterprises, car rentals, manufacturers and exporters, and professional services.

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.”


Samoa Climate Finance Workshop Eyes Private Sector Opportunities

Wednesday 19 October 2022, Suva, Fiji/Apia, Samoa – Private sector partnerships on climate resilience have gained momentum after Samoa’s Polynesia Sub-Regional Private Sector Workshop. The 27-29 September workshop focused on improving private sector access to climate finance, and stronger public-private partnerships. This workshop brought together representatives from the Government and the private sector in Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu. They were joined by regional and development partners and climate financing institutions.

Workshop participants recognised a key challenge faced by micro, small to medium enterprises in the region is access to climate finance. The workshop provided an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand the specific needs of the private sector. The challenges of accessing climate finance including practical financing and support options targeted for the Pacific private sector were also key discussion areas.

Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dr Filimon Manoni in his opening remarks, stated that the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent provides an opportunity to improve and strengthen our development approaches including our engagement as public and private sectors.

He stated that there is a need to increase the engagement of our private sector as contractors and service deliveries for governments on several adaptation and mitigation initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer of the Niue Chamber of Commerce, Ms Catherine Papani agreed that it has always been difficult for the private sector to access funding.

“Climate change is happening now, and some businesses will be gone in the next five years by the time funding can be accessed. It is time to act now and there is a need to think about the next generation and the future impacts of climate change.”

Access to finance and other technical support opportunities are necessary to ensure countries are prepared for climate change and disasters. Including private sector helps to ensure survival of local businesses and communities.

Ms Michelle Macdonald, Samoa Chamber of Commerce, and Industry (SCCI) President said a lot of funding requires governance and compliance. This requires regional bodies such as the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation to use their collective voice to ensure climate financing is accessible.

“A lot of our country priorities for climate change in the region are reflected in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. The private sector needs to adapt to these priorities as this is where the donors will be coming through.,” she added.

The three-day workshop ended with a tree-planting programme organised by the Climate Change Division of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) at the Vailima Reserve and Botanical Garden.

The workshop was made possible through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in collaboration with Samoa’s Ministry of Finance, SCCI and MNRE, with funding support from the Intra African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) Project. —-End


Samoa Private Sector United Under One Banner

The Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday  2nd August 2022 at the Taumeasina Island Resort, following its delay earlier in the year due to COVID 19. A significant milestone was achieved at the AGM, with the unification of Samoa’s leading Private  Sector Organizations (PSOs) under the umbrella of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Samoa’s  National Private Sector Organization, for the first time in 10 years.  

With the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters (SAME) rejoining SCCI, the private sector  of Samoa is again united as one family. SAME President, Taulapapa Maria Leota, stated on the  significance of SAME rejoining the National Private Sector Organization, “SAME is now a proud  member of the SCCI. We recognize that joining together as a united private sector will strengthen and  promote our businesses. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”. The SCCI President  shared these sentiments, stating “… this is a significant historical milestone. A truly united private  sector that is aligned on how we can work collectively on the challenges and opportunities for the  private sector, in particular to advocate on issues impacting the growth of our private sector as the  engine of growth for our local economy”. The unification is crucial, as now the private sector can  continue to work with our Government with one voice to address policy issues for the benefit and  development of our business community and our economy.  

The following officer nominees were elected and confirmed by the Office of the Electoral Commission,  to serve on the Samoa Chamber of Commerce Executive Council 2022/23: 

President: Seulupe Michelle Macdonald 
Vice President: Faasootauloa Sam Saili 
Treasurer: Tom Hogarth 
Secretary: Nadia Meredith-Hunt 

General Members:
Fuimaono Hugo Betham 
Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai 
Enele Westerlund 

PSO Representatives:  
SHHA: Tupai Saleimoa Va’ai 
BOSA: Tony Atilua 
WIBDI: Funefeai Oliva Vaai 
SAME: Taulapapa Maria Leota  

Immediate Past Presidents:
Jennifer Ula-Fruean 
Masoe Norman Wetzell  
Tuala Leaega Pat Leota 

The Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry AGM 2022, was sponsored by Taumeasina Island  Resort and Taula Beverages Samoa. 



Samoan Young Entrepreneurs Take on SDGs at Youth Co:Lab Samoa 2022

Apia, Samoa – Several young, local entrepreneurs have won seed funding to take their businesses to the next level, at the completion of the latest round of the Youth Co:Lab program. 

Through the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Regional, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has facilitated the fourth annual Youth Co:Lab Samoa National Dialogue 2022 from the 27th June – 1st July 2022 at the Tanoa Hotel Conference Room. 

Youth Co:Lab Samoa (YCL Samoa) is a startup incubator program that brings together a diverse group of Samoan youth in the early stages of operating their businesses, or young, aspiring entrepreneurs, and works to improve or create business plans introducing innovative thinking, financial planning and social impact through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The industry interest of this year’s cohort ranged from transportation, food services, 3D mapping and manufacturing, to name a few.

The key objectives of the Samoa National Dialogue include providing a national platform for young social entrepreneurs across Upolu and Savaii and to foster a sense of community between youth entrepreneurs, industry leaders, government stakeholders and business support including the Samoa Chamber being the National Private Sector Organization. 

“Today starts the National Dialogue for Samoa’s Youth Co:Lab bringing this program’s most important stakeholders, our young entrepreneurs, to discuss and establish a common goal to strengthen the coalition and establish an enabling ecosystem to promote social innovation through entrepreneurial spirit for the benefit of Samoa,” said Mr. Patrick Lawson, Second Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia, in his opening remarks for the program.

“Through our close partnership with the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, as the lead implementing partner for this initiative, the Youth Co Lab Initiative has supported over sixty young entrepreneurs since its inception in 2018 through capital investment, funding, capacity building, mentoring and networking opportunities,” said Ms. Verena Linneweber, Officer in Charge of UNDP.

The Samoa Chamber acknowledges the support of its private sector partners – BOSS Jewelry, TokoUso Barbershop and Food Bar, Brown Consult, Samoa Stationery and Books, SkyEye, Vodafone Samoa, Digicel Samoa, Mana Care, BookingSamoa, INSEACT and the Samoa Business Hub. The Chamber also wishes to thank the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, the UNDP Accelerator Lab as well as the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Ministry of Customs and Revenue, and the Ministry of Communications, Information, and Technology for their support and participation in this initiative. 

Through the inclusion of youth speakers, government stakeholders, industry leaders and regional partners, this infused an element of inclusivity in the program design in recognition that it is through these partnerships where the true strength of the YCL Samoa program lies. These ecosystem partnerships prove how together, a difference can be made for the benefit of Samoa’s youth entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow.

During the whole program, I was so impressed by all the methodology that helps promote and run my business smoothly. I had learned a lot from this workshop and am so honored to be part of it,” said YCL Samoa participant, Grace Jaydene Teleaga.

The week-long training culminated in a pitching competition for the young entrepreneurs to win seed-funding to support the development of prototypes for their business ideas for startup participants, or the furthering of business developments for scale-up entrepreneurs. The award categories were split by startup and scale-up tracks and included an Award for Social Impact, Award for Ingenuity, Award for Impactful Technology and the YCL Samoa 2022 Excellence Award. 

The Chamber wishes to congratulate the following youth entrepreneurs and this year’s award recipients: 

Award for Social Impact – Joseph Kupa, Kew Consult (st), and Jimmy Leausa, Salani Bright Horizons (sc);

Award for Ingenuity – Taupaū Alex Mikaele, Luma App (st), and Vaimoana Hunt-Lee, Fia Ola App (sc);

Award for Impactful Technology – Clark Duseigneur, Motu Visuals (st), and Hazel Lei Sam, Helping Hands (sc);

YCL Samoa 2022 Excellence Award – Taupaū Alex Mikaele, Luma App (st).


YCL Excellence Award winner, Taupaū Alex Mikaele, shared what this opportunity has meant for him, “I feel extremely honored and humbled to be awarded the YCL Excellence Award 2022. It came as a complete surprise as there were so many creative and innovative ideas amongst our cohort. Everyone did so well on the final day. It was inspiring to witness and be part of this group.  Thank you to Youth Co:Lab, Samoa Chamber, UNDP, mentors, facilitators and everyone involved in the program.

In early 2022, I started my entrepreneurship journey as the Managing Director of the Siusega Taxi Service. It was here where I got to understand the challenges faced by the Taxi Industry as a whole. I was immediately inspired to utilise my skills and knowledge to support the Taxi Industry in addressing some of these challenges, particularly with the national gap in taxi fare. This is where the idea and concept of Luma App (a taxi fare application) was born to standardise, regulate and update Taxi Fares in response to the ever-changing cost of fuel. 

I hope my story and journey will inspire every youth in Samoa to aspire to be an entrepreneur regardless of your circumstance. During my early upbringing in Manono, not once did I think of becoming an entrepreneur. We have all been taught in school to be great employees instead of encouraging our youths to be entrepreneurs themselves. I am grateful for the opportunities that later followed with education and mentorship to be where I am today. I would encourage all our youth to get involved, surround yourself with good people, be great and honest at what you do and the opportunities will present themselves,” said Taupaū. The YCL Samoa 2022 Excellence Award included a partial sponsorship from Samoa Market/Seki Eats, founded by YCL Samoa 2018 alum and inaugural YCL Samoa winner, Etuale Scanlan. 

YCL Samoa and the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem around it has grown because of the youth leaders that are part of this network. In the future, plans are to continue to scale this initiative and showcase more of Samoa’s youth entrepreneurs in Savaii and rural Upolu. 

“We would like to acknowledge the presence of the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Verena Linneweber. The support and partnership that we have with UNDP has allowed great initiatives like the Youth Co:Lab to be implemented and build the capacity of Samoa’s young entrepreneurs. We thank you Verena and the UNDP team, Christina and Tupe, for hosting another great YCL workshop. We look forward to growing this partnership to support more of our young aspiring entrepreneurs. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the Australian High Commission through DFAT, our donor partner for YCL 2022, H.E. Emily Luck and her team for supporting this workshop and creating opportunities for our youth. Thank you to the British High Commission through His Excellency, David Ward, for your partnership through the YCL to provide an internship opportunity for our participants and we look forward to working closely with your team in coordinating this,” said Ms. Lote Lima, Memberservices Manager at the Samoa Chamber of Commerce in her closing remarks on the final day of the program. 

Following this workshop, the SCCI and UNDP are dedicated to the development of these startups and will be implementing a follow-up internship thanks to the support by the British High Commission. Other startup support services available for youth entrepreneurs include mentorship, guidance and the potential for international exposure for their business growth. 

In the past five years, the regional Youth Co:Lab programme has been implemented in 28 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific, and  has reached over 200,000 participants, benefiting over 11,000 young social entrepreneurs to date.


The Final Youth Koko Workshop

Apia, Samoa – The Samoa Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme conducted a series of Cocoa coaching workshops targeting youth and women farmers in both Upolu and Savaii. From these trainings, -32 youth koko farmers were selected to participate in the final workshop under the COVID-19 Preparedness and Recovery: Diversification of the Economic Sector in Samoa (CPRDESS) project, funded by the Embassy of Japan in Samoa. This is a 12-month project that started in late March last year and will end on the 30th of September 2022. The participants completed a two-and-a-half-day training which kicked off last week at the LAVA Hotel Conference Room.

The workshop intended to bring together a final group of young cocoa farmers, all of whom have participated in one or two of the trainings that was conducted over the years. These participants were selected as they were seen as the most engaging and enthusiastic of the group and had well established cocoa farms in Upolu and Savaii.

The participants including 10 female farmers were able to absorb knowledge and experience from local Commercial Koko famers, hear about loan schemes (SCB & DBS) and grant schemes (SBH & SAFPROM under MAF). The workshop included site visits to the Samoa Koko Industry Association’s cocoa nursery at Afia, SERENDI COCO’s cocoa processing facilities and a demonstration on chemical management by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Crops Division in Nu’u. The Pacific Island Centre (PIC) in Japan also delivered a virtual presentation on the current market trends for Cocoa in Japan, export opportunities for the Pacific Island and in Particular for Samoa as well as opportunities for networking and accessing the Japanese market. President of the Samoa Koko Industry Association SKIA: Alo Kolone Vaai who has also been an active trainer for this program stated that “I am always very happy to see these young koko farmers that have emerged since the start of this program. Cocoa is a long-term crop and it will serve you very well for 10 to 30years if they are well looked after. That is the aim of these workshops, to teach this next generation of cocoa farmers how to better look after their cocoa trees. Samoa was one of the leading producers and exporters of cocoa in the Pacific region, however the number of exports rapidly decreased due to the effects of climate change, severe cyclones in the early 1990s which completely destroyed many koko farms. The amount of cocoa our country supplies overseas now is nothing compared to what our ancestors used to export, hence the establishment of SKIA which aims to return our country as one of the leading cocoa suppliers in the Pacific. The Youth Koko program conveniently coincides with this goal and I am very thankful to the United Nations Development Program and the Japanese Embassy for funding these workshops and I hope there will be many more such opportunities in the future.”

One of the participants, Taelega Toma Naumati Sa’anapu, expressed his gratitude to the implementing parties. “I would like to give thanks to the UNDP and the Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc for the great opportunity to be able to attend this training. To be honest, this is the first time I have participated in such a well presented, well performed and well-planned training program. Many of my fellow participants I have met today are from all over Samoa and it just reflects the level of interest our youth have for farming life especially through the development of cocoa. I really hope that the youth who participated here today will take something from this program to further expand their koko farms to become local koko exporters in the future.”

The workshop concluded with UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Verena Linneweber’s closing remarks and stated, “With REDSAF, we support the Government of Samoa and communities in recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and help increase their resilience to such future shocks with particular focus on the agriculture and fisheries sector. One important way of doing this is through creating employment opportunities for unemployed women and youth and strengthening their livelihoods and asset base.

The Youth Koko Initiative in particular is an important element in these efforts, by equipping Samoa’s young koko farmers – like yourselves – with the skills, knowledge and resources to commercialize and expand their koko farms, and by revitalizing and strengthening the links within Samoa’s koko industry. We hope that this will generate employment opportunities and increase Samoa’s export potential for koko to overseas markets.”