Entrepreneurial stars shine at SME Awards

September 25, 2021

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Edward Vrkic, with the ‘Best Social Enterprise Initiative’ award winners eDidiman, an ecommerce platform for Bougainville farmers. Photo: Seru Kepa l UNDP Papua New Guinea

The United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Capital Development Fund proudly recognised two of the country’s rising stars of business at Papua New Guinea’s 2021 Small- Medium Enterprise (SME) Awards, in Port Moresby.

The Ela Motors "SME of the Year Award" went home with the winner of UNCDF’s ‘Best Agriculture Cooperative Society’, BOU Resources Development of Milne Bay province. And UNDP ‘Best Social Enterprise Initiative’ was awarded to eDidiman, an ecommerce platform supporting Bougainville farmers to reach a national marketplace.

“UNDP was proud to sponsor the 'Best Social Enterprise Initiative' as it exemplifies the values and mission of UNDP in Papua New Guinea – as well as aligning to the Government’s Vision 2050, and national strategy for responsible sustainable development,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr Edward Vrkic, presenting the award to proud Bougainvillean and founder of eDidiman, Mr Jordan Becks.

An online Buy and Sell Marketplace that ‘Keeps Autonomous Region of Bougainville Farmers in Business in a COVID-19 era’ - eDidiman is based in Buka, on the island of Bougainville, and connects smallholder farmers to a national marketplace, using their mobile phones.

UNCDF Country Lead, Mr. Jagdeep Dahiya announcing the winner of Best Agriculture Cooperative Society said the award shines a spotlight on the essential role of cooperatives in rural development and agricultural value chains, especially for export crops like cocoa and coffee. Cooperatives are important mechanisms in fostering social and economic development in Papua New Guinea.

“This award is not only dedicated to all the farmers, or entrepreneurs, in the country but importantly to those that make it their business to strive and make a change in rural Papua New Guinea. And so, this is for all of us in rural Papua New Guinea,” said top winner, BOU Chairman Mr. Noah Taugaloidi.

The Annual SME Awards to recognize and celebrate outstanding SMEs of Papua New Guinea was established in 2020 by the PNG SME Magazine. Congratulating all runners up, UNDP’s Mr Vrkic commended their passion and contributions to "the rapid growth of Papua New Guinea’s unique business landscape, and the sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific region."