Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First day in Fiji

With only 10 days to investigate what type of micro-finance product would best serve women entrepreneurs in Fiji, and how to market said product, our team had little time to waste on our first day. Arriving at 4:50am we hit the ground running.

First we acclimated ourselves to the lay of the land. Our taxi driver took us to a local beach were we observed some local fishermen. We then took a drive along the west side of the island to get a better idea of the physical geography of Fiji. Lastly we took lunch at “Chicken Bites” a restaurant that in the USA would likely serve hot wings and chicken tenders, but in Fiji serves delicious Indian curries.

Alas the day was not all site seeing and merry making. At 2pm we headed to, what I can safely say is, the World’s Newest MBA Program at the University of Fiji (UniFiji). The program which launched on Monday August 16, 2010, has 40 students – mostly executives from Air Pacific, Fiji water and several Duty Free shops on the island. At UniFiji, which itself was started in 2004, we met with Professor and Dean of the MBA program KL Sharma, who talked to us about the business and economic climate in Fiji. He was happier to meet with us than the attached picture might let on.

We took several more meetings at the University and had the opportunity to meet our first female entrepreneur which was extremely informative! We ended the day with lecture on Global Supply Chain Challenges and how they impact Fiji.

Today we’re off to meet with a current micro-finance organization on the island which will introduce us to women business owners they currently serve. It should be another packed day and we’ll be sure to update the blog with more information as soon as we can.

Guest blog post from Matt Hutchens, Kelley MBA 2011.

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