Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Auckland conducted Path to Market workshops in New Caledonia, Samoa and Tonga this month.
Path to Market (P2M) is PT&I’s export capability building programme that combines the range of export facilitation services and expertise provided by PT&I to help export ready and export capable businesses enter new export markets. The content of the P2M workshops is specifically targeted at existing and new exporters giving further insights and overviews of getting products to market.
This was the first time that the workshop was conducted in New Caledonia, since it received its full membership of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). It joined the 14 other Pacific Island Countries of the Forum only this year. P2M was one of the first PIF initiatives delivered by PT&I, which is PIF’s economic development agency.
Fifteen companies were represented at the workshop in the capital city of Noumea. “The workshop was very well received by the participating companies,” Mr Ian Furlong, PT&I Trade Development Manager who co-conducted the workshop told Pacific Periscope.
The participating companies were from a range of market segments including Agribusiness, agriculture, pet food manufacturing, manufactured feeds, fisheries, animal genetics, construction (building, aluminium and PVC) and satellite image processing, among others. Mr Furlong said.
The seminar covered topics such as what a successful export company and product looks like, understanding the customer along with information on the New Zealand market opportunity, financial management, selling effectiveness and tips on how to choose a distributor in New Zealand. The workshop also included a number of ‘hands on’ assignments during which participants could develop their individual skills during the day.
Michael Greenslade, PT&I Auckland Trade Commissioner, who co-conducted the workshop with Mr Furlong said PT&I anticipated the challenge of delivering the course content in English. French is the main language in New Caledonia and PT&I was well prepared with a French language translator at hand throughout the workshop.
“This workshop would not have been possible without a translator. What we learnt was that the use of translators increases the length of the workshop. Secondly, content such as cartoons and quotes are not easily translated,” Mr Greenslade said.
The management world’s favourite comic strip ‘Dilbert’ that was used to illustrate some organisational situations in the workshop ended up creating some confusion because of the language. “It took more time than we thought it would,” he added.
P2M, which has so far been conducted in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Palau, is a dynamic programme, Mr Greenslade said. “We are changing content all the time taking into account the requirements of each of the countries. We learn each time we present. We have a slicker product after each presentation.”
“Feedback received was very positive with all participants recommending the seminar to others who may be interested in the future and comments such as that the seminar had provided a good basis to begin exporting in the future and that the topics covered were all very important to their business,” Mr Furlong said.
AVEX, the New Caledonia Government’s agency to promote exports helped coordinate the hosting of the workshop. “We are also appreciative of the support received from Mr Yves Lafoy, the official representative of New Caledonia in New Zealand,” Mr Furlong said.
The P2M workshop coincided with a Pacific Business Forum led by the PIF, which had the objective of having entrepreneurs from all over the Pacific to network with each other. More than 300 delegates from all over the Pacific attended.
Samoa and Tonga
Meanwhile, Joe Fuavao, PT&I Auckland’s Trade Development Manager co-led P2M workshops in Samoa and Tonga with New Zealand based consultant David Powell.
PT&I partnered with the Samoa Association of Manufacturers (SAME) to deliver the one day workshop to about 20 participants
“Fashion and food & beverages were the main sectors represented,” Mr Fuavao said. “Key topics covered included choosing the right distribution partner and the importance of selling.”
The workshop was part of the New Zealand Samoa Trade & Investment Commission’s (NZSTIC) trade mission to Samoa, which had 19 delegates.
In Tonga, PT&I partnered with the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labour (MCCTIL) to deliver the P2M workshop that involved 18 participants.
The main sector represented was fresh produce. “Companies wanted to move up the supply chain from supplying the market in bulk to leveraging their own brand and origin story in the export market,” Mr Fuavao said.
Key topics covered included choosing the right distribution partner and the importance of selling.
Feedback was positive at workshops in both countries, Mr Fuavao said. “In both countries there was a request for more export workshops.”
Path to Market
The programme is an extended business model that covers a series of methodical steps that are delivered in partnership by PT&I NZ and an Economic Development Agency in each country. In this instance, PT&I partnered with the Fiji Export Council to deliver the workshops. The P2M programme begins with workshops, which are essentially a practical assessment of export capability vis-à-vis requirements of the New Zealand market. In a six-step process, the workshops are followed up with building a strong strategic link to the local economic development partner; organising a sales mission to New Zealand; applying learnings from the sales mission; introducing exporters to prospective buyers and distributors in New Zealand; and feedback analyses, quantification of deals and follow up to B2B meetings.