Building Pacific Women in Business Capacities in E- Commerce

E-commerce is opening up a world of possibility for businesses with more and more people around the globe buying online.

For small businesses in the Pacific, exporting to international markets is not easy, and operating export businesses can be hugely challenging.

However, the landscape is changing with the growing trend of e-commerce – distances are closing in around us, and challenges are being overcome.

The Grow Project e-commerce training – organised by Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and facilitated by Growth HQ and online guru James Kemp – is helping Pacific businesses to break down barriers and build competitiveness throughout the region.

In an effort to support Pacific females in business, 12 women from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are being given the opportunity to undergo PCF Grow Project training, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Participants will be put through 10-weeks of training – all of which will be online and conducted by James.

The business women will be selected through a process implemented by PIPSO.

Chief Executive Officer of the organisation Mereia Volavola says the women will be a mixture of those who do not have an online presence and those who do but have had challenges in fully utilising their websites and social media presence for sales and marketing.

There will be no cost required in setting up websites for participants, however each candidate would be required to pay for Shopify Store.

Mereia is excited about the initiative as past Grow Project trainings, such as Grow Pacific in Fiji last year, have showed positive progress and impacts to participating businesses.

“Empowering business women of the Pacific is very important as more and more women are taking up business to support their families, children’s education and the livelihoods of their people in the community,” Mereia says.

“Supporting women’s businesses is a must and they need to take advantage of the growing market in e-commerce.”

From this training, it is hoped the 12 Women in Business candidates will develop their website and on-line marketing presence; and that by the end of the 10-week training, they will achieve successful online sales of their products Mereia adds.

According to the statistics provided by Grow Pacific, $994 Billion will be spent on-line this year and in 2015, it is estimated 1,228,500,000,000 would have bought something on-line.

Sixty-six percent of small businesses are increasing their on-line marketing spending in the next 12 months.

With these changes occurring, online is the way forward for many throughout the Pacific – allowing for equal access to the global market regardless of the size of the business; and owners’ gender or race.

Currently, PIPSO is issuing Expressions of Interest to Pacific females in business, 12 women from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

After candidates have been selected, training will commence in late July.

PIPSO and UNDP would like to invite expressions of interest for female business owners in the region who are looking to improve sales via training provided by the Grow Pacific project.


Business principal(s) must be female and based in the Pacific 

Have an existing product or range that can be sold and fulfilled via a website

Be available for weekly online training and support sessions

Please complete this online form to submit your application:



(Picture caption: More women in business have the chance to increase sales online through PCF’s Grow Project – just like these participants from last year’s Grow Pacific training in Fiji).