Despite the problems 2020 posed for many of Papua New Guinea’s SMEs, some are entering 2021 with a bang. Business Advantage PNG asked them for their advice on how to thrive in tough times.
After not finding safe and reliable public transport easily, Isaac Jipsy decided to launch an on-demand taxi service.
When Tidman Ikosi couldn’t get tickets for a show because the queues were massive and he needed to get back to work, he launched Ticket Bilum.
What do they both have in common? They created a solution to a particular PNG problem – and they didn’t give up despite the challenges.
As the owner of Tapioca Delight, Ginia Sialis, tells Business Advantage PNG, ‘crisis breeds innovation’.
Ikosi says that it took him several months working with app developers, Bank South Pacific and Visa to guarantee Ticket Bilum met all the requirements to accept online payments. Jipsy, on the other hand, spent two years trying to get funding and participating in different competitions to get ODESH off the ground.
‘You have to work hard, stay focused, be disciplined, and most importantly have fun’.
‘It might be difficult, but if you stick to your goals, you will get to the end,’ says Ikosi. ‘I haven’t gotten to my end goal, but I’m getting there.’
Work hard to dream big
Priscilla Kevin, one of the founders of the PNG Digital ICT Cluster, believes in pursuing one’s strengths, reaching out to mentors or colleagues for support and encouragement, and taking career challenges to reach your goals.
‘Experience comes when you step out and become better at what you love doing,’ she says.
Kevin urges entrepreneurs to remember to that to succeed ‘you have to work hard, stay focused, be disciplined, and most importantly have fun’.
Assistance and resilience
Launching a new business is extremely challenging but there is assistance out there. BSP’s and the National Development Bank’s SMEs loans are now available, while there are others ways of raising money, such as Invest in Me, PNG’s first crowdfunding venture. Subsidised business advice is also available through Business Link Pacific, while PNG’s SME Corporation has recently been reinvigorated, with a mandate to encourage more SMEs.
‘As an entrepreneur you have to adapt. It’s not going to be easy but the answers will only come if you have faith and take action.’
That said, the biggest resource for any SME is the owner themselves, and their ability to learn as they go.
Ginia Sialis suggests that ‘as an entrepreneur you have to adapt. It’s not going to be easy, but the answers will only come if you have faith and take action.’
Lynu Summer, owner of Lynu Beauty, says that people who dream of becoming an entrepreneur should not forget the rough times because they teach you how to plan for the future.
‘When you’re designing your business and thinking about what services and products to offer, look to ways that a crisis like COVID-19 might affect your business model and have plans in place for what you could implement [to make] your business survive. This is a great lesson in time.’
She encourages budding entrepreneurs to take that first step:
‘Absolutely go for it! You will learn new things, develop new skills, meet new people and make new connections. Gain another profession, an income – and you will grow as a person. ‘
Are you a PNG entrepreneur? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story with us.
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