COVID-19 had a devastating impact on many micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Vanuatu, as it did across the Pacific Islands and the rest of the world. As Vanuatu’s first business and idea incubator, V-Lab was founded to support entrepreneurs to develop and grow their businesses. With the onset of the pandemic, they quickly came to recognise the increased demand for the types of business development services and mentorship they offer.
In response to this increase and as part of the program, V-Lab designed and ran a 5 month incubation program for 10 businesses. The latter involved a mix of business resilience training as well as coaching to support the entrepreneurs in developing their leadership skills and personal resilience. It also involved a field trip where the enterprises got to network with and learn from established local businesses. As a result of the program, the enterprises reported a significant increase in revenue, and three of the enterprises that came in as informal became formally established through the program.
With V-Lab itself being a young organisation, they leveraged the program as an opportunity to not only extend their support to more enterprises, but also as an opportunity to integrate the learnings they had gained from their first year of operation to establish systems and processes that would allow them to grow their operations and reach even more enterprises moving forward. To do so, they were supported by an advisor who worked with them to develop a program roadmap and financial sustainability plan for the incubator itself, which has already resulted in increased visibility and traction from partners and donors.
Also, recognising the importance of developing the local capacity of coaches and mentors in a context where business coaching is dominated by the expat community, V-Lab used the program to develop the skills and expertise of local business coaches as part of a partnership with Business Link Pacific. This has seen great results so far, with entrepreneurs reporting being more comfortable to open up to local coaches.
If you would like to learn more about V-Lab or have any questions, feel free to send us an email.
Marc-Antoine MorelSend message