PORT VILA, Wednesday, 16th March 2022: The Pacific Greenpreneurs Incubator program held a Graduation Ceremony for the first cohort of Vanuatu green enterprises on March 16, 2022. The graduation ceremony was held virtually (due to COVID-19 restrictions) to celebrate and recognize the achievements of all the 2021 incubator participants, mentors, coaches and others involved in the program and to close-out the program on a positive note.
The program is an initiative of the Pacific Green Entrepreneurs Network (PGEN), a regional program implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and made possible by funding from the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).
Seven early-stage green enterprises made up the 2021 Vanuatu Greenpreneurs incubator cohort, of whom five enterprises graduated today. The graduating enterprises operate in the agribusiness, beauty products and waste sectors. The Pacific Greenpreneurs Incubator program offers training and mentoring programme to existing innovative early-stage green micro, small, and medium-enterprises (MSMEs) in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The Guest of Honour at the ceremony was Ms. Esline Garaebiti, Director General of the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Management, who gave remarks and virtually presented the certificates and awards.
Ms. Garaebiti congratulated the graduates and winners, stating “we need more Small Medium Enterprises in Vanuatu and leading innovations that can help a drive green transition and build a strong green and resilient economy for Vanuatu.” She welcomed future incubator and accelerator programs planned under the Pacific Green Entrepreneurs Network in Vanuatu and acknowledged the Ministry of Climate Change’s support to “facilitate the smooth implementation of this entrepreneurship program in Vanuatu”.
Joining from Doha, Mr. Fahad al-Dehaimi, International Aid Officer spoke on behalf of the Qatar Fund for Development, congratulating the graduates and applauding their “resilience and work ethic and success that they have achieved so far, especially their resilience in the face of COVID-19”. He also confirmed that the importance of the program to the State of Qatar.
The highlight of the Graduation event was the announcement of two Vanuatu winners of the 2021 Pacific Greenpreneurs Business Plan Competition, the culmination of the incubator after five months of work. The winners, both women-led enterprises, are Ms. Leimantare Vira Dit Malvirlani of Tropical Virgin Oil – Netonore and Ms. Devnie Ryves of Aelan Curls will each receive USD 5,000 in seed grant funding to invest in growing their businesses. Winners were provided with the opportunity to share their winning business pitch with the audience at the event.
The graduation event concluded with virtual networking and connections between green entrepreneurs and guests from Vanuatu and beyond. Vanuatu Greenpreneurs graduates are part of the regional Pacific Greenpreneurs alumni, comprised of 39 early-stage green enterprises who have completed the program in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu.
Applications for the 2022 Incubator and Accelerator programs will be open in coming months. For more information on the program, visit www.pacificgreenpreneurs.com.