Co-founders, Board Chair of Pasifika Foundation for Development, Rakin Wahed and Fatima Adwiya Ahmed,
CEO of Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation, Kameli Batiwati,
Chair of Young Entrepreneurship Council, Watisoni Nata,

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
Creativity and innovation are such powerful alliances and I am honored to be amongst young and empowering individuals who are always thinking up new things and doing new things every day.
Every day is an opportunity, and when I look around this room, I see budding stalwarts and industry champions of tomorrow.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When Rakin reached out to my office with this invitation, it reminded me of the quote “Art is a universal language understood by all” – Can one imagine a World without art? We would have no paintings, sculptures, architecture, poetry, music, literature and dance, everything would be so ordinary.
So my support and acknowledgement in your dedication to work with artists and entrepreneurs alongside the undertaking of the Pasifika Foundation for Development is one of genuineness.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When we give young entrepreneurs the right support they need, we are securing our future and building a stronger foundation for young people to collectively shape their communities.
Over the two days of consultations, we want you to collectively identify the capacity building needs and co-create a need-based training. This of course will be in tandem with your needs to strengthen the sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Fiji Government wants to build youths for the future – where they can achieve their potential through long-term, sustainable and high-impact projects centered around communities that need it most.
The Ministry has a dedicated team called “MSME Fiji” in charge of developing MSMEs in the country. They have facilitated over 300 business trainings on financial literacy to over 7,500 individuals and have done a tremendous job of hosting business advisory services coupled with monitoring and evaluation of businesses. 
In all my MSMEs stakeholder meetings, I have been hearing about the significant potential the creative arts industry has. And from what I have gathered, we must find solutions to showcase your talent, whether it is through painting, dance or music to name a few – and make it a sustainable source of income for you.  
We are here to listen to you, and assist you in every way possible.
Rakin, you are no stranger to the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) programme offered by the Ministry, and as a YES grant recipient, I admire your passion to support your colleagues and peers to also achieve their business dreams – a room filled with visionary entrepreneurs is so gratifying to see.
So, I encourage you all to reach out to my team, because we are here to help you achieve your business success.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a pilot project in partnership with the US Department of State, Cultural Vistas and the Young Pacific Leaders Small Grant Program – this is an outstanding example of what co-partnership can achieve – so thank you to the Government of the United States of America.
I am told, the outcome of this stakeholder consultation has a scope for an exhibition of the work of the training participants to showcase their creativity, so I encourage you all to “save the date”, for when it is announced.
To our participants, you are the representation of our culture through the art you create with your own hands and creative minds – that in itself is such a priceless talent!  You are the link between our traditions and culture.
You must not forget that you will be tomorrow’s job creators and the custodians of our art and culture in a World where many young people have become accustomed to the modern lifestyle.
Coming back to today’s event, I wish you all a rewarding time throughout these two days of active consultation, and wish the participants all the best in the planned panel discussions, group work and presentations and open discussions alongside stakeholder presentations.
Vinaka Vakalevu and Thank you.