In a significant step towards enhancing the business advisory landscape in the Solomon Islands, sixty business advisors from across the nation gathered last week to participate in skills development workshops. 

Funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and delivered in collaboration with the Institute of Solomon Islands Accountants (ISIA), the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industries (SICCI), DT Global, and the Government of New Zealand's Business Link Pacific Program, the workshop catered to a diverse pool of experienced and emerging business advisors, equipping advisors with skills vital for effective business advisory. The workshops were held from 10 to 11 August and 15 to 16 August, 2023.

Acknowledging the pivotal role advisors play in nurturing commercial ventures, Barbara Wilkinson, the facilitator, expressed, "Businesses perform so much better when they have the support of an expert advisor at their side, whether they be accountants, marketing experts, HR advisors, or IT specialists."

The training aimed to assist and encourage advisors to provide more comprehensive services, adding value for their clients. Wilkinson further noted, “It was great to see such a strong uptake from both very experienced business leaders as well as those starting out with their advisory practice. The advisor network is growing in Solomon Islands, offering a range of services that go beyond accounting and marketing advice. Climate change advice, doing business digitally and help with exporting are just some of the other services businesses can access from a business advisor.” 

A good starting place for businesses to find help is the website where they can find an advisor, access subsidies, apply for business grants and access a range of online business tools.

The workshops were funded under the ADB’s COVID-19 Business Recovery Initiative that is operating across six Pacific Islands countries, including Solomon Islands, until December 2024. The program takes a multi-faceted approach to aid businesses in their resurgence after the pandemic by facilitating access to finance, providing complimentary business recovery planning services to pandemic-affected entities, improving the capabilities of business organizations such as ISIA and SICCI, advancing women's economic empowerment, and strengthening the Government's efforts to cultivate a favorable business environment in the new normal.

ISIA's CEO, Pamela Naesol-Alamu, emphasized the implications of this training, stating, “With this training, we hope that our members and practitioners will be able to expand their accounting and finance skills and expertise into the business advisory space. With the existing knowledge and skills that they possess, accountants are well placed to be expert business advisors, so this is an important training for them.” 

Muriel Dakamae, a workshop attendee, underscored the value of this opportunity, stating, “it’s an opportunity to broaden our knowledge, skills, networks, and systems needed in an advisory practice. Being a successful business advisor requires a thorough understanding of a range of business issues, effective communication, a strong work ethic, and a genuine desire to help business thrive in our challenging Solomon Islands context”.

Rhibbie Auma, Acting CEO & Executive Officer of SICCI, praised the pioneering nature of this initiative, remarking, “it’s the first time we’ve had training like this in the Solomon Islands, for business advisors. The workshops covered important skills that business advisors need to confidently provide meaningful services that support business growth.” 

As the business landscape in the Solomon Islands continues to evolve, ISIA and SICCI remain steadfast in their commitment to providing professional development opportunities for their members and practitioners. ISIA's CEO summarized this dedication, stating, "We want to ensure that our members have what it takes to deliver quality services and add value to the businesses they serve."