Suva, Fiji - The newly established Nauru Entrepreneurship Development Project commences first training sessions this week. Twenty aspiring Nauruan entrepreneurs will be given business development training over a period of five weeks, with three hours of training per day.

Nauru Entrepreneurship Development Project is funded by the Australian Government’s Overseas Aid Programme (AusAID) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Nauru to expand business opportunities in the country.  Enrollment in the training was advertised widely and out of 42 applications, 20 future businessmen were selected to undertake the first training session.  They range in age from 25 to 49, with seven men and 13 women being selected.  Out of these, 14 are unemployed and six are working.

The training is held at the newly established Nauru Entrepreneurship Development Center (NEDC). Project Coordinator, Ms Lolita Belandres, from the Philippines, arrived in Nauru mid-February and commenced work on setting up this Center.

“The learning curve might be stiff, but I am inspired by the eagerness and enthusiasm of the applicants to the course. Rest assured, the Center extends the best service it can give,” said Ms Belandres, who has been recruited with UNDP assistance. The Government of Nauru has provided space for the NEDC within the Civic Centre complex in Aiwo.

The training will cover a broad range of topics including business planning, pricing, packaging, marketing and financial management.  At the end of the training, five best business proposals will be eligible to apply for a microfinance loan of up to $A2000 to assist successful applicants in starting a new business.

"We look forward to the business training outcome for these first 20 local participants, for them to be more self dependent. This project is an important step for us in achieving a milestone in our national sustainable development strategy," says Mr Russ Kun, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Environment.

Nauru Entrepreneurship Development Centre seeks to provide advice, training and mentoring to the micro and small business sector in Nauru. It will also provide opportunities for the development of the micro and small business sector in Nauru including provision of micro credit, study tours and training, with a focus on women in business, as well as Basic Household Financial Literacy Training to all communities in Nauru.

“Nauru’s economy will benefit from a more developed private sector. This project is attempting to achieve exactly that at the grass roots level,” says Ruth Verevukivuki, Poverty Associate at UNDP Fiji Multi Country Office.

By facilitating education and training for the Nauruans, UNDP hopes they will be able to manage their own business and contribute to national growth and creation of workplaces. The project is also aiming to give more training once this first round has been evaluated.

“The challenge for the NEDC will be to sustain current levels of enthusiasm and work with the people of Nauru in providing them with alternative livelihood options for a better future, ultimately assisting them in meeting Nauru’s Millennium Development Goals,” Ms Verevukivuki said.

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