Women-led micro and small business owners in Fiji are celebrating the launch of digital mobile payment platform, DUAPAY, following a successful 12-month pilot.

Developed in collaboration with Mastercard, Fintech Pacific and international development organisation, ygap, in partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Business Partnerships Platform (BPP), 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.

Through the solution, piloted in 2022 with a small group of Fijian women entrepreneurs trading at the Suva and Nadi markets, business owners can accept card and digital payments easily and securely on their mobile devices.

Fintech Pacific chief operations officer, Joana Kabakoro-Smith said, “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, with the aim of enhancing their financial capacity. We are confident that this initiative will revolutionise the landscape of e-business for women in Fiji.”

Ygap Pacific Islands regional manager, Talei Goater said, “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.”

According to an assessment by the Women’s Finance Exchange, women-owned Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Fiji make up 19% of MSMEs and face an unmet credit demand of about $250 million.

Mastercard country manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands, Ruth Riviere added, “Mastercard is working to address the 30 percent of the Fijian population that is underserved in the financial services sector. This is being achieved through partnerships with like-minded organisations, like those that have been 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.”