In Papa New Guinea, efforts have been made to improve opportunities for women

In the spotlight: Some prominent women entrepreneurs of Papa New Guinea

A glaring fact today in the international scene is that Papua New Guinea is the largest, most populous and most resource-rich island country in the South Pacific; and fortunately, it has received technical and financial assistance from Australia too.

In spite of some barriers that exist, and despite the fact that education levels are low and travel difficult, there are areas (such as tourism, fishing, and agriculture) that offer business opportunities to prospective entrepreneurs.

On the positive side, some programmes have been introduced to increase female participation in SMEs – including entrepreneurial skills development and training in basic skills such as cooking, handcrafts and sewing. And, efforts have been made to develop women’s business forums to address women’s lack of opportunities to network and improve flow of information to women about market opportunities. For instance, the Women in Business Initiative was established in 2013 – to improve opportunities for women to move into senior management slots, better equip workplaces to deal with the consequences of family and sexual violence and develop a mentoring program that connects Australian business women with their counterparts in PNG.

Here are some prominent women entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea.

> Maxine Nadile, Managing Director, Egwalau & Events Milne Bay, PNG

Maxine Nadile is an entrepreneur, who admitted that neither she nor her business partner, Elaine Bate, were fully prepared for the future ie entrepreneurship, as both had left jobs working for the Milne Bay Provincial Government and were looking for a change. They had no prior experience in running a tour operation business, no capital, no office space, no trained employees and limited knowledge of the cruise tourism industry. But one thing that stood out was that they were passionate about the tack ahead. She is passionate about wanting to see more women in business.

> Crystal Kewe, Co-founder & Chief Technical Officer, Crysan Software

Crystal Kewe, from East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea is a self-taught young Software Engineer and entrepreneur, who holds the designation of Chief Technical Officer of the software company she co-founded.

Her mission in life is – to “constantly grow beyond all boundaries as a woman and as a human being”. She is passionate about developing her skills to scale new heights in both her personal and professional life.

She would like to “see a change in approach to improving the status of women – a new approach that focuses on guiding girls and women to become independent mentally in order to effect gender equality in their own lives”. She feels that unnecessary laws are not needed but, “we need female intellectual empowerment for real and lasting gender equality”.

> Julie Bukikun, Founder, Buk Bilong Pikinini

Julie Bukikun is the founder of Buk Bilong Pikinini, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy and education for children in Papua New Guinea. The organization operates libraries throughout the country. And, most importantly, it has a focus on empowering women and girls.

> Helen Samson, Founder & Managing Director, Women’s Business Resource Centre (WBRC)

Helen Samson is the founder and managing director of the Women’s Business Resource Centre (WBRC) in Papua New Guinea. The WBRC provides training, mentoring, and financial support to women entrepreneurs in the country.

> Janet Sape, Founder, PNG Women in Business Foundation

Janet Sape is the founder of the PNG Women in Business Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides support and resources to women entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea. She is also the founder of PNG Women in Mining – an organization that promotes greater participation of women in the mining industry.

> Lorna Siba, Founder & CEO of Pacific Palms Property

Lorna Siba is the founder and CEO of Pacific Palms Property, a real estate development company in Papua New Guinea. She is also the founder of LSI Architects, an architecture firm that specializes in sustainable design.

> Rebecca Mondo, Founder, Tabitha Foundation Papua New Guinea

Rebecca Mondo is the founder of Tabitha Foundation Papua New Guinea, a non-profit
organization that provides education and support to vulnerable children and families in the

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