By Hope Imaka – EM TV Online
Presented yesterday at the final workshop in Port Moresby, was PNG’s first Business Plan Competition project through the GameChangers Initiative. The implementation of this pilot project revealed that the Business Plan Competition was a success.
With the support of the Australian Government in 2014, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was able to launch the GameGanger Initiative, closely aligned to the national government’s SME Policy. There is untapped potential and market in social enterprise. For example, based on UNDP’s report through the Intellecap’s analysis, the education sector has US$309 million, financial inclusion has US$276 million, agriculture has US$187 million, and clean energy has US$177 million market value all waiting to be tapped into.
The GameChanger Initiative’s primary objective is to recognise and provide a launching pad for innovative business ideas to nurture and grow them into viable and profitable business ventures, while also providing sustainable solutions for critical developmental challenges.
IBBM conducted the project review and found that the business-plan competition generated interest from different stakeholders, including donors, the investor community, PNG Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, and both government and financial institutions.
With over 600 ideas originally registered, the business plan competition received 328 submissions from across PNG, of which 42 submissions were shortlisted. These 42 selected entrepreneurs were supported with essential training from Silicon Valley experts, week-long boot camp focusing on financial and basics of accounting, and mentorship support from business experts. Entrepreneurs also received support and mentorship from several renowned local entrepreneurs. The competition also connected some of the finalists with investors, business houses and the government representatives.
Key Challenges of the program as outlined in the report by IBBM were:
- Lack of incubation platforms
- Limited access to finance
- Lack of seed and crowd funding possibilities
- Governance issues.
Key challenges of the entrepreneurs included:
- Limited capital
- Lack of assets or collateral for securing bank loans
- Lack of support facilities for start-ups
- Lack of access to technology and ICT
- Lack of support for mentorship and on-going support.
To provide this support, the second phase of the programme will be designed to mobilise and amplify PNG entrepreneurial spirit. The second phase will build on the lessons learned and will focus on fostering, nurturing, accelerating required connection. It will also explore the potential to create a facility for seed capital and an incubator for startups.
“Through this business plan competition we witnessed innovative and creative potential of PNG entrepreneurs. With the new Sustainable Development Goals, these entrepreneurs can be the game-changers and by developing their business help the country to address the pressing development issues. We stand ready to support further this initiative”, said UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Roy Trivedy.
“It was a life-changing experience. It allowed me to look into myself. My idea was around improving public health. I want to provide X-ray services in the rural areas. My idea was shortlisted and I received great support. It gave me a great platform to network and build relationships. The main challenge was to change my mindset. Entrepreneurship is a journey and along the way you have to learn,” said Roberta Morlin, Business Plan Competition finalist.
The GameChangers Initiative is a development sector initiative implemented by UNDP and supported by the Australian government, which aims to influence the inclusive development discourse through its work with entrepreneurs, impact investors and inclusive businesses.