Following the renewed emphasis in 2008 on sustainable economic development as a core driver in the NZ Aid Programme, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) began exploring options for strengthening its engagement in economic development in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs). This included investigating what additional support might be required to bolster business success. It was identified that there was both a clear need for additional support for Pacific SMEs and entrepreneurs, plus an absence of a formal mentoring scheme in the Pacific.
In February 2010 MFAT signed a 3-year Grant Funding Arrangement (GFA) with Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) for the Pacific Business Mentoring Programme (PBMP), with the programme being rolled out over this period in the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Niue.
The overall goal of the PBMP is to assist Pacific entrepreneurs to manage and grow their businesses in a way that supports sustained increases in production and employment over time. The outcomes of the evaluation are to inform funding and programme decisions around the future of the PBMP from January 2013.