When we think about business, we also need to consider thinking about the crucial role business networking plays in business. This is a process businesses use to achieve business and career growth. Such as people with the same interests in the business industry gather in a certain space to assist and help themselves in the business world. They also establish a mutual yet beneficial relationship with other businesspeople or potential clients or customers.
Mafoa ‘a e Ata young participants had the opportunity of gathering for a business networking event that will benefit them as young entrepreneurs. TYEE hosted this event with the purpose of the Mafoa 'a e Ata participants to gain fresh ideas from other businesses, also gain more knowledge, get business advice and support, also develop their social skills and lastly, build relationships.
However, businesses were invited to the Mafoa ‘a e Ata Business Networking event which included business leaders, ceos, and youth entrepreneurs. Guests started arriving at the TYEE Youth Career Centre at Mataika, Nuku'alofa where the event took place at 5pm and were placed for seating. As we all know how the ‘Tongan time’ operates, we waited for more guests including guest speakers to arrive before we were able to start the event.
While awaiting the rest of the guests to arrive, our guest speaker that was present on the day is a youth entrepreneur for which we are thankful for, Ms Lesieli Kafa, Owner of Raleny. As she was placed for seating, our Mafoa ‘a e Ata business networking event took off with an opening prayer that was conducted by one of our guests on the day, a youth entrepreneur, Mr Fangatapu Finau, Manager of Finau Agricultural Farmwork.
The Welcoming remarks were conducted virtually on Zoom by Ms Esther Bates, GGGI's Pacific Green Entrepreneurs Network Project Manager followed by an introduction by the Director of TYEE, Lusia Latu-Jones. Mafoa ‘ a e Ata participants were then called up front individually to present themselves with a short introduction.
Moving on, our guest speaker for the day, Ms Lesieli Kafa (27) started her speech with a short introduction. She then later elaborated upon the small business that she manages alongside her sister. They are both young entrepreneurs that started their business brand "Raleny” which are products made out of unused clothes, such as scrunchies, bags, masks, etc.
Ms Kafa concluded her speech with a message to never look down upon anyone and always help out if someone needs it. Ms Kafa expressed upon her struggles trying to make a living for herself, and she left that message upon the rest of the guests in the room.
Mafoa ‘a e Ata participants and Guest Speaker were then given the time to interact upon Questions and Answers. The closing prayer and blessing of the refreshment was handled by the TYEE program assistant, Mr. Sebastian Sila and was followed by a vote of thanks by the TYEE Director, Lusia Latu-Jones.
Nevertheless, refreshments were made available and business networking became present. Mafoa ‘a e Ata participants and other business folks socialized with each other while having their refreshments. During their interaction, a youth member from the BSP Bank, Mr Filisione Manufekai spoke upon his experience with TYEE as the reason behind his employment at the BSP Bank is because of TYEE’s program and help, and for that he is grateful.
As the event flows, Mrs Haley Takau, Entrepreneur English Tutor wanted to share a piece of advice with the young entrepreneurs saying to give their customers a little treat when they are being loyal to their business. "When you have customers, treat them well", she stated. This is her way of keeping customer loyalty and showing them that they are appreciated for choosing her service.
Mr Neil Jones, Tonga Power NNUP Project Leader conducted a few words stating how pleased he is with the creativity that youths bring in the room. Through his experiences and expertise as an entrepreneur, he gave a few words of advice towards the youths in the room, highlighting the importance of working hard for what you want. “Once you start having these ideas, once you start believing in what you’re doing, never stop and you’ll be amazed in what you can achieve”, he added. He elaborated more upon the multiple times he has fallen over during his entrepreneurial journey, yet he learned from them, he added that “the more you do, the more you learn”. Mr Jones then concluded his message by stating to the youths to put their heart 110% into what they do, and they will do well.
On the other hand, Mr Pesalili Takau, Tonga Power NNUP Project employee shared upon his experience with TYEE since their establishment. He then shared how amused he is to witness the number of female entrepreneurs in the room and showed his appreciation of that by raising a toast to women who are striving in the business world.
To end the event, our previous guest speaker from the Mafoa 'a e Ata meet and greet brunch Ms Cassandra Lupe’eva Moala-Mafi, Owner of Prestige shared upon how proud she is with the Mafoa ‘a e Ata participants showcasing how confident they became since their last meet up. She elaborated upon how she relates to the youth entrepreneur guest speaker of the evening Ms Lesieli Kafa. She went on with sharing how they share the same story upon the reason behind their business start-up, “everyone has their own story to tell”, she stated. She concluded the evening with her speech by encouraging others in the room to be more involved in functions held by TYEE, especially business networking, as this has many benefits for them and their businesses.
About Mafoa 'A e Ata Youth Innovation Challenge Program
The Mafoa ‘A e Ata – Youth Innovation Challenge Program is proudly brought to you by Tonga Youth Employment & Entrepreneurship Inc. (TYEE) in collaboration with our Partners - Breadfruit Consulting Port Villa, Vanuatu, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)’s Pacific Green Entrepreneurship Network (PGEN) and supported by Solutions Consulting House in Nuku’alofa.
About Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI):
Based in Seoul, GGGI is an intergovernmental organization that supports governments of developing countries to transition to a model of economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. GGGI delivers programs in over 40 partner countries with technical support, capacity building, policy planning & implementation, and by helping to build a pipeline of bankable green investment projects. More on GGGI’s events, projects, and publications can be found on www.gggi.org. You can also follow GGGI on Twitter and join us on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
The regional Pacific Green Entrepreneurs Network (PGEN) is a 3-year project funded by the Qatar Fund for Development and implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute in collaboration with in-country partners including Tonga Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship. The Network aims to support green and inclusive job growth by supporting entrepreneurs (particularly women and youth) develop their green and sustainable businesses whose business models include solutions aimed at contributing to their country’s climate and sustainable development goals in Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. For more information, please visit the Pacific Greenpreneurs website.