COVID-19 and the World of Work

Meet our partners - Sept/Oct UN Informal Economies Recovery Project e-newsletter feature

Irene Olkeriil - President of the Palau Chamber of Commerce

Project documentation | 18 October 2021
Irene Olkeriil
My name is Irene Olkeriil, I was born and raised in the beautiful islands of Palau, located within the Micronesian group in the North Pacific.

As a corporate and estate planning paralegal by trade, I am diligent in my legal work and committed to my profession. However, I am truly an entrepreneur at heart, and have developed over the years a few real estate business properties, both residential and commercial. These operate in Palau under my trademark name EmeralDreams Services. EmeralDreams Services has grown during the time of the COVID lockdown with two subsidiary companies, EmeralDreams Consulting Services and EmeralDreams Marketing Services.

On April 7, 2021, I opened DOUREOR, which is Palau’s very first business incubator - providing professional co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and is a place that supports startups and nonprofits.

I became the President of the Palau Chamber of Commerce by election first to the Board of Directors then by the members of the Board in December 2020. As a small business owner, my first passion is to help Palau’s entrepreneurs and to advocate for the business community while working with the nation’s leaders and community to seek ways to achieve economic recovery and support sustainable developments.

Both the people and environment of Palau are dear to my heart. Therefore, I am committed to improving and enhancing the services of the Palau Chamber of Commerce to meet the Organization’s mandate and sustainable goals which are: (1) to create jobs; and (2) to grow the local economy.

With my language skills and business acumen, and with over twenty seven years of experience in both the corporate and legal industries in Palau, Germany and the United States, the main part of my day-to-day operations is to help my clients; to meet their business needs by providing them with efficient, exceptional and mobile paralegal services and business support services remotely and/or onsite.

I am more than happy to consult for and mentor local entrepreneurs especially in Palau, since I speak, read and write both Palauan and English fluently. The other passion I have is to help and support the Belau National Museum in all its efforts to keep alive and to maintain the cultural heritage of Palau. The museum continues to inspire the culture and creative industry of Palau, enabling creative-preneurs, to thrive as a crucial part of Palau’s overall livelihoods and economy.

The main role of the Palau Chamber of Commerce is to advocate for and to promote businesses in the country. The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on business and employment in Palau has been incredibly troubling. Many businesses have closed down and some are really struggling to continue.

The tourism sectors of Palau’s business community which had been the country’s main main tax payers are really suffering, not only short term but also long term impacts. These, of course, affect the employment situation throughout all the 16-states of Palau.

The Palau Chamber of Commerce has been hired by the UN Informal Economies Recovery Project as a Business Development Services Provider. This means we are supporting the project in business education and awareness programs for local informal workers - such as artists, weavers and farmers. The goal is to enable them to become business-savvy small entrepreneurs - skilled in running a sustainable profit-generating business.

Personally, I would say now that the Informal Economies Recovery Project is one of the most important players in Palau’s economic recovery at this point in time - especially with the ongoing challenges of the COVID pandemic.