Mere-Tari-Sovick-Ni-Vanuatu-doctorThe first woman from Vanuatu to earn her doctorate in the United States of America and one of a handful of female scholars with a doctoral degree from Vanuatu, Mere Tari-Sovick’s (nee Sine) journey to Dr. Tari Sovick has been circuitous.

From Vanuatu, in the small village of Lavatu on the northern island of Pentecost where she grew up, to the capital city of Vanuatu, Port Vila, to a boarding school in New Zealand, and on a Maori Marae, her work as a journalist, Peace Corp Vanuatu language trainer and U.S. student, has culminated in her dissertation being published this month with the title, “Strategies Female Small Business Owners Use to Succeed in Business”.

Dr. Tari-Sovick says she wants to be an agent of social change.

In the future, she will be publishing in International Business and other scholarly publications, while conducting entrepreneurial and educational research both in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region with Dr. Francis Bobongi, an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Institute of Educational Research (GIER) in Brisbane, Australia.

Together they previously co-hosted and led a women’s and girls’ leadership conference in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in 2014, on the topic of how to be an agent of social change.

Dr. Tari-Sovick hopes to continue to look at entrepreneurship within its context for sustainable social empowerment of women, encouraging women to use their resources to learn and enhance their economic power.

Her research found that access to financial resources is still a barrier for women small business owners.

To overcome this barrier, women small business owners in her study said it was crucial to find the right person to believe in you – even if not the bank. Other sources of business capital included grants and husbands.

Grants could be a valuable part of a women’s entrepreneurial start up strategy. Women small business owners also needed more than one strategy to succeed. They needed the initiative to be leaders and the personality to take risks.

Her study also found that businesses that knew their customers well, built relationships and applied leadership skills – daily – were successful. Women business owners who empowered their employees were also successful.

Happy employees translated down to happy customers. In addition, her research found that women’s use of their traditional gifts of intuition and experience building relationships helped them to succeed. Ultimately, the results of her study indicated that business owners increase their chances of success beyond a five year mark when they can identify the constraints that are preventing them from succeeding by using key strategies to overcome those constraints.

She noted that the findings from her study could inspire present and future female entrepreneurs to enhance their leadership skills, increase capacity to expand their small businesses, start new businesses, and explore entrepreneurial options.

On the social implications, she hopes her study can serve as a guide that encourages female entrepreneurs to enhance their professional practices and to adopt new business strategies to make better strategic decisions. She is also the director and founder of the non-profit organization Melanesian Women Today (MWT). MWT strives to improve the lives of women and children throughout the nations of Melanesia and the South Pacific.

Dr. Tari-Sovick hopes to use her research skills to enhance her work through Melanesian Women Today by partnering with other like-minded non-profit organizations and agencies around the world.

Dr. Mere Tari-Sovick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s of Business Administration in Global Management.

Her doctorate is in International Business focusing on Social Sustainable Entrepreneurship. A mum of four, she lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA, with her husband Jason Sovick.