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IFC Supports Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in Vanuatu with Business Start-Up Guide

Port Vila, Vanuatu, November 11, 2011 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the government of Vanuatu, and local business groups are today launching a guide aimed at helping small and medium entrepreneurs set up and register a business, gain access to credit, employ workers, and contribute to economic activity.
Published in Bislama, one of Vanuatu’s official languages, the booklet offers tips on refining business ideas, writing business plans, and conducting market research and gives details on business and license registration, providing entrepreneurs with a much-needed tool to get a head start in business.
“Small-business owners often lack knowledge and experience in dealing with start-up processes, such as business and license registration,” said George Borugu, acting Director General for the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism. “Helping entrepreneurs formalize their businesses will enable them to realize their potential, strengthen their management skills and contribute to Vanuatu’s overall economic growth.”
The guide was developed as part of recommendations from a joint IFC and AusAID report in 2010, which showed that women in Vanuatu lacked knowledge and experience in dealing with business formalization processes.
The newly formed Vanuatu Women in Sustainable Development Association and the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry contributed to drafting the guide. Along with government agencies, the two groups will distribute 5,000 booklets to communities across Vanuatu.  
“This guide provides information for both businessmen and women on how to manage a business—from starting a company to finding financing,” said Gavin Murray, IFC Regional Manager for the Pacific. “Providing entrepreneurs with access to this information will clarify the business start-up process and make it more accessible to people.”
With the support of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand, IFC is encouraging private sector growth in Vanuatu by helping improve the investment climate. The government, with assistance from IFC, has eliminated the small business license fee, cut business registration time for local companies from 32 to 22 days and reduced business license processing time from seven days to one. IFC also recently helped local business women form the Vanuatu Women in Sustainable Development Association. The group aims to support female entrepreneurs and be a platform for women to express their business issues and concerns.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
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