Solomon Islands Government Ministers joined Australian High Commission officials to promote women in business at a Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) networking breakfast on Friday.
The businesswomen’s networking breakfast celebrated the Australian Government’s partnership with SIWIBA, via its initiative, Strongim Bisnis.
This Australian-funded partnership aims to improve SIWIBA’s capacity to deliver business development services for women and increase SIWIBA’s membership of women entrepreneurs.
The Minister for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Hon. Freda Rotutafi Rangirei gave the keynote address at the networking breakfast.
Among the guests attending the event are Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Hon. Lanelle Tanangada and Australian High Commissioner, Dr Lachlan Strahan.
Dr Strahan said, “Empowering women to take leadership roles in business and participate fully in the workforce is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for the economy.
“Around the world, including in Solomon Islands, women remain under-represented in the workforce and leadership roles.
“The Australian Government is supporting SIWIBA to help shift this reality, by developing female businesswomen to deliver change in Solomon Islands.
“The Australian High Commission looks forward to continuing to support women’s economic empowerment, through Strongim Bisnis and directly through the gender program.
“The private sector is an important driver of change, but we also strongly encourage government to play its role creating the right enabling environment to allow women take the lead. Men also have to be prepared to give ground. Events like this networking breakfast allow us to do this”, he said.
SIWIBA President, Pamela Zoleveke, opened the breakfast and said “As a non-profit organisation, we exist to serve the interests of businesswomen throughout Solomon Islands. We have over 900 members and encourage all women in business, be it formal or informal, to contact us and benefit from the training and business services we can provide to help their businesses grow.”
Strongim Bisnis partnered with SIWIBA as part of its focus on creating better economic opportunities for women, youth and people living with disabilities. Strongim Bisnis works in the cocoa, coconut, tourism, financial services, timber, horticulture and waste management sectors.