UPFRONT Enterprising Pacific approach

Recent research by the Manukau Institute of Technology and Pacific Business Trust suggests Pacific Islanders need training that is more attuned to their culture to succeed as entrepreneurs.
Because training takes place in Pakeha dominant culture that doesn’t recognise Pacific values the process creates tension. For instance, Pacific families and churches teach humility and respect for authority. The European system, on the other hand, encourages self promotion and the ability to challenge accepted norms.
The study recommends celebrating the strengths of Pacific cultures – eg, hospitality, biculturalism, family support and collective approach to problem solving – as basis for business advantage and foundation for entrepreneurial activity.
It also suggests including positive role models from Pacific cultures, practical, experiential-based training, and workshops addressing issues such as family values and acknowledgment of deep religious faith in training programmes. PBT chief executive Jim Mather says there are already many successful entrepreneurs of Pacific Island descent such as Mike Pero in mortgage finance or Isaac Tuhega in building supplies.
“The challenge is for the recommendations of the research to be turned into action so we get more successes.”

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