Empowering women entrepreneurs in Fiji through fintech
A new mobile payment acceptance solution is set to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs in Fiji.
Following a successful 12-month pilot, DUAPAY was developed with Mastercard, Fintech Pacific and the international development organisation ygap. It also partners with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Business Partnerships Platform (BPP).
Business owners can now accept card and digital payments quickly and securely on their mobile devices, bringing more people into the digital economy and opening new opportunities for tourist trade.
DUAPAY is now available to small business owners who have been banking with Westpac in Fiji for the past 12 months, with increased eligibility anticipated in the coming months.
The solution was piloted in 2022 with a small group of Fijian women entrepreneurs trading at the Suva and Nadi markets.
Joana Kabakoro-Smith, Chief Operations Officer, Fintech Pacific, says: “The Pacific region is an evolving market, primarily characterised by an untapped potential among underbanked and marginalised consumers.”
“In response, our mission was to extend our reach to women entrepreneurs in Fiji to enhance their financial capacity. We are confident this initiative will revolutionise the e-business landscape for women in Fiji.”
Talei Goater, Regional Manager, Pacific Islands, ygap, says: “This locally led, holistic and innovative partnership champions inclusion for women vendors who traditionally face more barriers in business. We’ve provided workshops and scenarios with this pilot group of women so that they are ready and equipped to use DUAPAY.”
“Women are empowered to grow their income, increase their financial security, support their families and help their communities. It’s been incredible to witness,” says Goater.
Andrew Shepherd, Counsellor of the Australian High Commission, says: “The Australian Government is pleased to support this initiative, which will place control of women’s income and assets in the hands of women.”
“The payment platform will help women to save and grow their operations, and long term, the initiative has the potential to create an impact for all informal market vendors in Fiji. DUAPAY will also increase financial literacy and provide more opportunities to grow business, assets and status.”
According to the Women’s Finance Exchange assessment, women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Fiji comprise 19% of MSMEs and face an unmet credit demand of about AUD $250 million.
Ruth Riviere, Country Manager, New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Mastercard, says: “Mastercard is working to address the 30% of the Fijian population that is underserved in the financial services sector. This is achieved through partnerships with like-minded organisations, like those forged to create DUAPAY.”
“This new payment solution creates more opportunity and increases financial inclusion, sustainability, and independence. We are excited about the opportunities innovations like this will bring for women entrepreneurs across Fiji and the rest of the Pacific.”
Mastercard is a global payment and technology company that connects consumers, financial institutions, and merchants, as well as governments and businesses around the world.
Fintech Pacific is a next Generation Financial Technology provider, driving digital transformation to help Fiji
ygap is an international development organisation advancing global equity through locally-led, inclusive entrepreneurship, reducing structural barriers to access and inclusion within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.