Welcome Address by Board Chairman, Mr. Bob Lyon, at the launch of the 2017 FDB’s National Small and Medium Enterprise Awards [SMEA].

Welcome Address by Board Chairman, Mr. Bob Lyon, at the launch of the 2017 FDB’s National Small and Medium Enterprise Awards [SMEA].

FDB Training Room, Level 1, DBC                                   1500 Hours        29 November 2017


Our Development Ambassadors – our sponsors and partners of the 2017 FDB’s National SME Awards;

FDB Board Directors and Executive Committee Members;

FDB Staff and our friends from the Media.


Bula Vinaka. A very good afternoon to you all.

I welcome you all to the launch of the 2017 FDB’s National Small and Medium Enterprise Awards.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2004, the Fiji Development Bank [FDB] inaugurated the Small Business Awards to encourage the growth of Small and Micro Enterprises by providing them a platform of competitive recognition.

Ten years later, the awards programme was expanded to include medium-sized enterprises of a turn over between $30,000 and $500,000 in gross sales per annum.

And today, some 12 years later, and in the Bank’s 50th anniversary year, we are taking the awards to even greater heights – we have revamped the SME Awards to FDB’s National SME Awards.

Apart from promoting and encouraging SME development through the recognition of successful and innovative entrepreneurs, the Award has been restructured to contribute in progressing global goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals, locally, and the Climate Change Framework as reflected in our new Strategic Plan 2018-2020.

The vision for FDB in 2020 is that of a development bank that is strongly positioned as one that drives for changes that promote inclusive, green and sustainable development and initiating and providing innovative financing solutions.

Our new strategic direction has conceived this shift in the principal objective of the SME Awards, gearing the platform towards promoting and strengthening SME growth that is inclusive and one that embraces sustainability than ever before.

And I am proud that the Bank has secured sponsors and partners that share the common objective of promoting our SMEs to develop and excel in their sectors, add-value to the economy, be responsive to climate change and to progress global goals.

Hence, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you a platform to encourage our SME entrepreneurs through recognition and to change mindsets to educate and advocate on promoting SMEs which are the drivers of our economy – indeed they create employment, ensure flow of service delivery and in doing so are bridging the gap between Fijians part of the formal financial sector and those not.

This year we have also branded the awards programme. The brand is representative of our connection with the ocean, the land and natural resources. The Shell represents our connection to the ocean in an era of rising sea level. The Green represents our connection to the natural land resources as well as Fiji’s national direct access accreditation, through FDB, to the Green Climate Fund. The gold represents the sun’s rays that serve to remind us of the unlimited strength that lies within us to grow and prosper as entrepreneurs, as partners and as a nation. It also represents our golden jubilee year and our collective commitment towards clean energy.

The prize money has also increased this year from the previous $36,000.00 to a grand $61,000.00 with a two-fold increase in awards’ prize money of $5,000.00 each with the National SME of the Year receiving $6,000.00 in cash.

The categories have been thoroughly thought out and feature encouragement as well –  the core category has been rebranded as Developing SMEs- to recognize SMEs that excel in their sectors.

A value-adding SMEs category has been included to award SMEs that add value to the economy by being Green Conscious and incorporating risk management strategies.

For the first time, and I believe the first in the country, we have an award that recognizes SMEs that are responsive to Climate Change by adopting mitigation and adaptation practices in their businesses.

Also for the first time, the Special Awards recognizes SMEs that have shown exceptional effort in progressing the Sustainable Development Goals locally. In this category, the Rookie Youth Entrepreneur award has been retained and enters its second year. The Women Entrepreneur of the Year and the Most Resilient SME Post-TC Winston are also a proud first for us!

Each of our sponsors – our Development Ambassadors as we brand them, provide sponsorship at the value of the prize money for awards that they add-value to and vice-versa. Our partners were also selected based on their business practices and their commitment towards our shared common goals.

Ladies and gentlemen, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to six of our long standing partners: Quality Print, Sun Insurance, Vinod Patel, New India Assurance, Reserve Bank of Fiji and Fiji Television Ltd.

Your continued support in recognizing and promoting small and medium enterprise development in Fiji is greatly appreciated.

And for our new award sponsors- welcome on board. We are excited to partner with you.

Fijian Holdings Ltd, Kookai, Fiji Sun, Mechanical Services Ltd, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Tourism, and the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. Thank you for your sponsorship.

Our Creative Partner, Art & Soul, Event Partner, Orange Productions, and our Special Partner, J. Hunter Pearls – we appreciate your commitment and value your contribution.

I also thank our previous sponsors who are not with us this year- our journey together in building this award from scratch will always be appreciated by us here at FDB.

And before I conclude, the 2017 FDB’s National Small and Medium Enterprise Awards will be broadcast live on Fiji One on the evening of 1 February 2018 – thanks to our TV Partner.

Thank you all.