The Vice Chancellor of the Fiji National University, Professor Lyn Karstadt;
• Members of the FNU Council and the NTPC Advisory Board;
• Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
• Permanent Secretaries of various government ministries;
• The Director of the National Training & Productivity Centre, Dr. Isimeli Tagicakiverata;
• Members of the 2022 FBEA Panel Of Review;
• Leaders and Executives from the Private and Public Sectors;
• Members of the Media;
• Distinguished Guests;
• Ladies and Gentlemen.
Miau sa bula re and Good evening!
I am indeed honoured and grateful for the invitation extended by the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of the Fiji National University to join you all this evening as Patron of the Fiji Business Excellence Awards and to present the awards for the FBEA 2022.

Tonight, is a celebration of achievements that have been attained through exceptional levels of business excellence in both the private and public sectors. I proudly commend the Fiji Business Excellence Awards team for fulfilling its 23rd year of existence. We have witnessed and can attest to the incredible journey and the ever growing interest in the Fiji Business Excellence Awards Framework across all sectors in the country.

As we mark this moment, I would like to remind us all, that this awards framework adapted from the Baldbridge Framework in the US is one of the most important and comprehensive guides to organisational performance improvements and the achievement of superior goals.

Ladies & Gentlemen, the Fiji Business Excellence framework and Criteria plays an important role in strengthening Fiji’s Competitiveness, leadership and adaptability to achieve excellence.

The Framework empowers organisations in Fiji to reach its goals, it demands the improvement of input and processes in order to achieve improved results and in turn allows competitive advantage in an ever changing and demanding economic landscape the world over.

Fiji has seen more than a 100 locally-based organisations participating in the Fiji Business Excellence process where more than 70% were from the private sector and the remaining 30% from the public sector. I commend the National Training & Productivity Centre for its support and vision in driving productivity for the nation.

To date a total of 289 awards have been presented to around 150 applicants over the last twentytwo years. These organisations have benefitted immensely from their participation in the awards process and have continued to use the awards framework as an Organisational Self-Assessment tool for recognition and achievement.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the impact of the recent global pandemic and the recovery process for many businesses have been challenging but this is our reality. As we continue to recover and remain vulnerable to external and unforeseen factors, we must ensure that as we improve our processes and results, we do so with sustainability, resilience and future-proofing being the epicenter of our focus!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Excellence is not an aim or a trend, it should be a way of life and part of the ethos of any organisation. While reciting and memorising an organisations mission, vision and values, excellence has been the order of the day for many. Progressive organisations focus their investments on time, energy, being cost effective, effective management and leaders and most importantly understanding and embedding into its culture the ethos of Excellence. In the wake of the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions we are thankful for how far we have come in terms of economic growth and development. We hope that the support specifically given to local businesses will continue the gains that has been made despite the situation they face. We see the great strides that many of our industries are taking to address the need for sustainability and resilience in business processes and future proofing to promote a proactive approach.

Evidently, the COVID-19 crisis impacted the Tourism and Hospitality industry the most. Last week, I opened the Fiji Hotels & Tourism Association HOTEC Tradeshow and Tourism Talanoa Symposium in Denarau, the theme of that symposium was “Working towards a Sustainable, Marketable, Agile, Resilient and Travel-ready (SMART) Industry”, I personally felt it rather apt to have such a theme for the industry. The recent global pandemic, the Ukraine/Russia crisis and the climate disasters will not cease immediately, the onus is now on the organisation at all levels to commit to attaining excellence through the effective execution of businesses processes.

Ladies & gentlemen, at this juncture it would be remiss of me to not commend the National Training & Productivity Centre of the Fiji National University for its tremendous contributions in promoting business excellence and productivity in Fiji. In my humble opinion, this is an important component that needs to gather greater momentum. The National Training & Productivity Centre has been a commendable custodian of the Fiji Business Excellence program for the past 22 years, as it sets high standards and continuously raises the bar on its criteria and awards.

I wish also to commend the work of the Fiji Business Excellence Awards Secretariat under the leadership of the Director of the National Training & Productivity Centre, Dr. Isimeli Tagicakiverata and his team for continuing to uphold its National mandate and the Awards vision to “Enhance Productivity and Excellence in Fiji” On the same note I wish to commend the hard work and commitment of the Panel of Review members for their efforts and guidance in ensuring that the integrity, neutrality and competency of the Awards is well maintained and upheld.

To the Fiji Business Excellence Awards Evaluators, who continue to make valuable contributions to the Business Excellence Awards process – Vinaka vakalevu for the commitment to keep raising the bar of achievement. The winners that shall be announced today have achieved their awards because they have met the high criteria being set. This is the second year that virtual evaluations were undertaken and I have been reliably advised that it has been an effective process with many of the organisations shifting their evaluation preferences based-on the new opportunities and challenges.

Ladies and gentleman, in conclusion I wish to congratulate all recipients of this year’s Fiji Business Excellence Awards, tonight is about you! Congratulations! With these few words, it is my pleasure to declare the Fiji Business and Excellence Awards 2022 officially open.

May the Almighty bless Fiji! Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu!