14 Jun 2012

Belief in product is key, says Samoan award-winner

6:18 am on 14 June 2012

A Samoan woman who's won an international award for her work with small businesses says changing villagers' mindset has been one of the keys to success.

Adi Tafuna'i has collected a Vital Voices Global leadership award, a first for the Pacific Island region.

She co-founded the Women in Business Development organisation in 1991 which has helped coconut oil, coffee and handicraft producers find local and international markets, including the global chain, The Body Shop.

She says giving business confidence to locals has been important.

"Having them believe that they have the product where they live that will be able to bring in an income and so they don't need to rely on relatives who work in the urban centres or overseas for their daily needs."

Adi Tafuna'i says the award has raised the profile of the business model which she'd like to see extended to other Pacific Island countries.