Business Link Pacific (BLP), a private sector development programme funded by the New Zealand Government, has announced the availability of new Business Support Grants for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Vanuatu.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Nicola Simmonds, shared, “We’re looking forward to seeing how these grants to businesses, together with BLP’s ongoing partnership with VCCI, help grow an innovative, inclusive, and climate-resilient private sector in Vanuatu. It’s also exciting to see the expansion of the BLP Programme to Santo under this new phase, to help improve reach in rural areas.”

The Business Support Grants are designed to stimulate SME growth, innovation, access to finance, and investment in social inclusion and climate action.

SMEs in Vanuatu can present proposals that meet the criteria of at least one of the following five categories: Innovation: grant will be used to drive innovation within the business, Growth: grant will used to drive business growth, Inclusion: grant will be used to increase inclusiveness within and by the business, Climate: grant will mitigate, adapt, or increase resilience to climate change and Finance: grant will be used to secure additional finance e.g., equity for a loan

To apply, businesses must submit a proposal that outlines the project they are proposing to undertake, the expected outcomes of the project, and the financial resources they are seeking. Proposals will be evaluated based on their alignment with at least one of the five grant categories mentioned above, as well as the feasibility of the project, the sustainability of the project, and the quality of the proposal.

Grants will be awarded based on business size and other factors. As a guide, businesses with up to five employees are eligible for grants up to NZD 5,000 (equivalent to VT365,000), and businesses with up to 10 employees are eligible for up to NZD 10,000 (equivalent to VT726,000). Businesses with 20 employees or more can apply for grants up to NZD 20,000 (equivalent to VT1,453,350). Businesses with up to 50 employees can apply for grants up to NZD 30,000 (equivalent to VT2,180,000).

BLP encourages applications from women, youth, indigenous entrepreneurs, and community-led businesses. Guidelines and full criteria can be found on the BLP website

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) will assist with the submission of applications. SMEs that require assistance to access the internet or computers should contact the VCCI to be supported.

Director of BLP Steve Knapp stated that they are very excited to announce the availability of these new Business Support Grants, to support local businesses with their innovation and growth projects. “We know that grants can boost SMEs capacity to access finance, increase employment and invest in critical issues such as climate resiliencem,” he added.

VCCI/BLP Business Service Manager Katrina Sali and Candyce Simeon said that they are looking forward to making sure this wonderful opportunity reaches our provincial MSMEs, with a focus on women led businesses and those entrepreneurs starting out who just need a hand to get started.