By Finau Fonua
The Tongan Business Enterprise Centre (TBEC) has been given a massive boost from the New Zealand Government. The centre will receive an investment of $8.4 million pa’anga over the next five years.
The investment was welcomed by Prime Minister Tu’ivakano, who met with New Zealand High Commissioner, Mark Talbot and TBEC staff to mark the agreement. It is the second grant arrangement from New Zealand to TBEC. Prime Minister Tu’ivakano stated the grant “will greatly increase the skills base of the Tongan population, and build capacity to support a stronger Tongan economy’’.
Since its establishment in 2010, the Tonga Business Enterprise Centre has supported hundreds of businesses in the form of training, advisory services and seed funding. According to TBEC, the centre has benefited 716 businesses, delivered training to over 3,000 people, and provided seed funding of $547,709 pa’anga to 42 businesses.
New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Talbot stated “By helping grow Tonga’s private sector, TBEC will generate more jobs and support Tonga’s economic development…We are proud of this second phase of our partnership to help drive Tonga’s economy”.