Business Link Pacific (BLP) is a development activity funded by MFAT with the goal of building the market for business advisory services in Pacific Island Countries (PICs), thereby enabling small-to-medium enterprises (SME) to access services to grow.
This formative evaluation will be used by MFAT to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the BLP model and the effectiveness and efficiency of its implementation, and to identify options for future support. The scope covers the implementation of BLP in 2017 and 2018 across participating PICs (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu).
BLP has been implemented in a relatively efficient manner, in terms of where investments have been made and in the staged roll-out that allowed for piloting. Emerging benefits reported by business advisory service providers (BASPs) include increased revenue and deepening client relationships. SMEs reported benefits that include the realisation that better quality advice is available, improved visibility of financial status and a general sense of confidence in business prospects.
Implementation improvements that could be made are changes in emphasis, such as investing in in-country network representatives (ICNRs) and being clearer on objectives (i.e. SME growth via advisory services, rather than poverty alleviation).
BLP is a well-designed activity that meets a need and remains relevant to the priorities of MFAT and Pacific partner countries. The design is aligned with the incentives of the participants – connecting business advisors, who are seeking to grow their client base, with SMEs that can benefit from quality business advice that will help them to growth their business.