Two years after visiting Samoa as part of Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia’s business mission, Bernard Tuaimau in conjunction with the Pacific Business, Sports and Entrepreneurs (PBSE) and PTI Australia, has announced the ‘Pasifika Diaspora Fund’ is set to launch at the start of 2021.
The fund will focus on impact investment and developing social enterprises across the Pacific.
The Sydney-based businessman and co-founder of the PBSE Network returned from the business mission to Samoa determined to empower the current and next generation of Pacific entrepreneurs.
“The business mission exposed us to a totally different part of Samoa we hadn’t seen before,” says Bernard.
“I was blown away by the quality of young entrepreneurs pitching at PTI Australia’s Pitch fest, they were a little too small for traditional investment, so we saw the gap in the Pacific investment market to support early phase start-ups and smaller social enterprises.”
Seki Eats, Samoa’s first food delivery service platform, was one of the start-ups that had a big impact on Bernard, and while they couldn’t provide early-stage financial investment, he and fellow members of the business mission provided immediate mentoring to help the business overcome its challenges and grow into a viable and sustainable business.
PBSE saw a real opportunity for their network and the wider Pacific diaspora community to engage with, empower and serve the region in a meaningful way.
Engaging with partners including PTI Australia, Pacific RISE, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Samoa Business Hub, PBSE representatives Guy Rasmussen and Bernard Tuaimau developed the concept of a fund that would be driven by members of the Pacific diaspora globally.
“As a community, we are raised to think about what we can do to help out or give back to our fellow Pacific people. That’s what we wanted the ‘Pasifika Diaspora Fund’ to be founded on,” says Guy.
“The fund is built on our Pacific values of family, communitarianism, respect and making a difference.”
Initially launching in Samoa, with the goal of expanding into Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, the fund will allow social enterprises to access mentoring and/or financial investment from the Pacific diaspora to grow and develop their businesses.
Leata Alaimoana-Roberts, Impact Investment Manager, PTI Australia said the strength of the fund is through its collectivism, harnessing the power of Pacific people to make a positive impact.
“I’m really proud that PTI Australia has been part of this since the beginning, we can see the long-term impact this fund will have in the Pacific to support the sustainable development of businesses, because the flow-on effect is immense.
“The ‘Pasifika Diaspora Fund’ provides a pathway for Pacific people, to come together and weave our collective strengths to make a real sustainable difference in the Pacific.
“While traditional remittances play a vital role in Pacific economies, there’s a growing number of diaspora who are wanting to make a sustainable difference and looking for ways to contribute beyond remittances. The fund enables Pacific people to be involved in the bountiful growth of the Pacific whether you have $100 or $100,000 to invest.”
The fund will be administered by a Board of Directors, Investment Committee and Advisory Committee.
“Once a business has filed its application, the Investment Committee will conduct due diligence and check the business’ investment profile,” says Bernard.
“We will then provide a mentor, who will identifying any areas of development the business needs to strengthen before progressing to the distribution of the fund.”
“Through the first 12 months, the business will have access to their designated mentor, and other mentors on the Pasifika Diaspora Fund database,” adds Bernard.
“This ensures there’s a community to support and guide them through these early phases of business and give them every chance to succeed.”
With the fund now launched, it will undertake a period of capital raising with members of the Pacific diaspora in Australia as it works to grow in Samoa and expand across the region.
To learn more about the Pasifika Diaspora Fund, apply for investment or become an investor please click here.