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18 August 20223 minute read

DLA Piper collaborates with International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) to support Pacific Islander entrepreneurs

Global Law firm, DLA Piper, delivered an interactive workshop for Pacific Islander entrepreneurs at the 2022 Pacific Connect Conference which took place in Brisbane recently.

The interactive workshop involved more than 20 entrepreneurs and Hub Leaders from across the Pacific with the aim of understanding the challenges they face in starting new businesses and identifying areas for pro bono support. The DLA Piper team comprised of Joel Cox (partner), Catriona Martin (APAC Pro Bono Director), Julie Humphreys (Solicitor) and Austyn Campbell (Solicitor).

Drawing on the discussions and feedback from the entrepreneurs in the initial presentation, DLA Piper will participate in a further meeting with Pacific Islander entrepreneurs on 22 August in Sydney and run two capacity building workshops with the entrepreneurs and their start up communities. The first will be an introductory workshop on the basics of establishing a successful start-up, and the second, a more advanced workshop, concerning the scaling of a business to access capital and how to move away from grant funding. DLA Piper will also provide strategic advice to some of the most established entrepreneurs to assist them to grow their businesses internationally.

The Pacific Connect Conference is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) with the goal of forging stronger, strategic-level relationships between Pacific and Australian leaders across the public, private and community sectors. DLA Piper is supporting ICDP to provide pro bono support to Pacific entrepreneurs to strengthen such partnerships with the private sector.

Pacific entrepreneurs are known for their creativity, innovation and resilience. However they also face some of the most significant challenges to establishing and growing businesses. The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index ranks the Pacific as among the most difficult places to do business in the world commonly due to the inefficiency and inefficacy of local legal systems. The role of the private sector in supporting entrepreneurs and helping the economic development of these island nations is, therefore as important as ever.

DLA Piper Partner, Joel Cox said: “DLA Piper has an ongoing pro bono commitment to the Pacific region which now includes an active role in supporting the development of the Pacific entrepreneurial system. This workshop presents a great opportunity to hear first hand the challenges faced by Pacific Islander entrepreneurs that will help us to shape this support, drawing on our commercial experience and knowledge of best practice. The gap in strategic legal support for such entrepreneurs is something we are keen to address to help such start ups and small businesses thrive.”

Simone Pensko, CEO, ICDP, added: “ICDP is delighted to be collaborating with DLA Piper to assist Pacific Islander entrepreneurs and small businesses overcome practical challenges that affect sustainability and growth. This approach is a prime example of the work ICDP does in the Pacific to promote genuine engagement that leads to meaningful investment in people, businesses and communities.” 

Notes to editors:

ICDP is an independent, non-profit, non-political organisation that encourages and facilitates dialogue, discussions and better relationships between current and emerging Pacific and Australian leaders in government, civil society and the private sector on common challenges.