Business Link Pacific’s (BLP) Support Grants are set to provide a boost to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Tonga, aiming to stimulate growth, innovation, access to finance, and investment in social inclusion and climate action. The grants, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and delivered by DT Global, will play a vital role in fostering a thriving business environment in the country.
Sam Vea, President of TCCI, echoed this enthusiasm, stating, “We are delighted to partner with the New Zealand Government and the Tonga Chamber of Commerce & Industry to launch the BLP Business Support Grants in Tonga. This represents our commitment to empowering local entrepreneurs and driving sustainable economic growth.”
Tongan SMEs are encouraged to submit proposals that align with at least one of the following grant categories: Innovation, Growth, Inclusion, Climate, and Finance. The Innovation grants aim to drive innovation within businesses, while the Growth grants are designed to fuel business expansion. Inclusion grants focus on enhancing inclusiveness within and by the business, and Climate grants are intended to help mitigate, adapt, or increase resilience to climate change. Lastly, Finance grants aim to secure additional finance, such as equity for a loan.
Grant awards will be determined based on business size and other relevant factors. SMEs with up to 5 employees are eligible for grants of up to NZD 5,000 equivalent (7,000 TOP). Meanwhile, businesses with up to 10 employees can apply for grants up to NZD 10,000 equivalent (14,000 TOP). Larger enterprises with 20 employees or more can seek grants up to NZD 20,000 equivalent (28,000 TOP), and those with up to 50 employees can apply for grants up to NZD 30,000 equivalent (42,000 TOP).
Grant proposals should provide project details, expected results, and funding amount. Proposals will be evaluated based on their fit with the grant categories, feasibility, and proposal quality. BLP strongly encourages applications from women, youth, and community-led businesses, as they play a crucial role in driving economic development in Tonga.
To access detailed guidelines and criteria, interested applicants should visit the BLP website at https://businesslinkpacific.com/sme/business-support-grants. The website provides comprehensive information to assist potential applicants in preparing their proposals effectively.
Matthew Howell, New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga, expressed his support for the initiative, stating, “The New Zealand Government is proud to support Business Link Pacific in helping businesses in Tonga to invest in and grow their operations. SMEs are key to inclusive economic development in Tonga, and we encourage SMEs of all shapes and sizes to apply for a Business Support Grant.”
Steve Knapp, Director of BLP, expressed his excitement about the availability of the Business Support Grants, stating, “We are excited to announce the availability of these new Business Support Grants, which will empower local businesses in Tonga to drive innovation, foster growth, and tackle critical challenges like climate resilience.”
To provide assistance in submitting applications, the Tonga Chamber of Commerce & Industry (TCCI) is available to support SMEs throughout the process. SMEs that require help accessing the internet or computers can contact TCCI for assistance.
The BLP Support Grants are expected to provide much-needed support to SMEs in Tonga, allowing them to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and contribute to the overall economic development of the nation.