Tonga Greenpreneurs graduate with $130,000 in grants and celebrate success of Pacific Greenpreneurs Program

Four participants of the Tonga cohort of the 2023 Pacific Greenpreneurs Program graduated today, marking a significant milestone in their entrepreneurial journey and showcasing the positive impact of the program on green enterprise development in the Pacific region. Two recipients were awarded total funds of USD$55,000 (approximately TOP $130,000). The event was held at the Davina House in Ma’ufanga, and brought together key stakeholders, including government officials, representatives from the private sector, and fellow Pacific Greenpreneurs.

Government Applauds PGEN’s Contributions

Ms. Lorraine Kauhenga, Deputy CEO for the Ministry of Trade & Economic Development’s Trade Negotiation & Policy Division, was the Guest of Honour for the event. She commended the Pacific Greenpreneurs Network (PGEN) and its funding partner, the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), for their unwavering support in nurturing green entrepreneurship and fostering sustainable business practices in Tonga. Ms. Kauhenga highlighted the program’s alignment with the government’s objectives towards achieving national economic outcomes and its emphasis on green job creation, particularly for women and youth.

TCCI Recognizes Transformative Power of Green Businesses

Mr. Sam Vea, President of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), echoed Ms. Kauhenga’s sentiments, emphasizing the transformative power of green businesses in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development. He acknowledged the importance of PGEN in cultivating a thriving green entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tonga, a crucial step towards building a more resilient and sustainable economy.

GGGI and QFFD Celebrate Graduates’ Achievements

Mr. Lano Fonua, GGGI Investment Officer – Tonga, represented GGGI’s Country Representative for Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, and Vanuatu, Mr. Daniel Muñoz-Smith. He congratulated the graduates for their dedication, perseverance, and commitment to green entrepreneurship. Mr. Fonua also expressed GGGI’s gratitude to QFFD for its unwavering support in enabling the Pacific Greenpreneurs Program to make a positive impact on the lives of green entrepreneurs across the region.

Grant Recipients Recognized for Innovative Business Models

The event also featured the awarding of grants to two deserving green enterprises. Ms. Luisa Nau, owner of Culture Fusion Tonga, was recognized as the winner of the Business Plan competition, receiving a USD $5,000 (TOP $11,900) grant for her innovative business model that aligns with sustainable development goals. Additionally, South Pacific Mozuku Tonga Ltd, a growth-stage green enterprise, was awarded a USD $50,000 (TOP $119,000) zero-interest repayable grant to support its expansion plans. The total grants awarded at the event was approximately TOP $130,000.

Total Grants Awarded Reach USD $75,000

With the awarding of these grants, the total funds disbursed to Tongan green enterprises since the inception of PGEN have reached USD $75,000 (approximately TOP $178,000), demonstrating the program’s commitment to supporting the growth and success of green businesses in the country.

GGGI’s Support Highlights Impact on Environment and Communities

Ms. Mihwa Wi, GGGI Senior Project Management and Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist, emphasized the significance of GGGI’s financial assistance to selected Tongan businesses. She expressed confidence that GGGI’s support will have a profound impact on the environment and communities, contributing to climate change resilience, innovation, and inclusive growth.

Graduates Express Gratitude and Commitment to Sustainable Development

Ms. Tupou Kolokihakaufisi, founder of Grace Nursery & Garden, spoke on behalf of the graduating Incubator Greenpreneurs. She expressed heartfelt gratitude to GGGI and QFFD for their unwavering support and guidance throughout the program. Ms. Kolokihakaufisi reiterated the graduates’ commitment to building businesses that not only contribute to economic growth but also align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, shaping a brighter future for all.

Tonga Graduates Join Regional Pacific Greenpreneurs Alumni

The Tonga Incubator & Accelerator Greenpreneur graduates are now part of a growing network of Pacific Greenpreneurs alumni, joining fellow green enterprises who have completed the program in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Vanuatu. This network provides a valuable platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual support, fostering a thriving green entrepreneurial community across the Pacific region.

As the Pacific Greenpreneurs Program continues to empower green entrepreneurs in Tonga and other Pacific Island countries, it remains a beacon of hope for a more sustainable and resilient future in the region.

Republished from an article that was written by Talanoa o Tonga Online News

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