Innovation Hubs in Bougainville promoting digital literacy and entrepreneurship

February 28, 2022

Innovation hubs to be located in North, Central and Southern regions of Bougainville. Photo: UNDP Papua New Guinea

UNDP is working with stakeholders in Buka, Buin and Arawa to deliver Innovation Hubs to facilitate community entrepreneurs.

Innovation Hubs to increase computer literacy and digital competencies of youth, men and women in Bougainville will support early-stage entrepreneurs through education, training and mentorship.

The new hubs, to be equipped with conference facilities, digital technology labs and tutorial rooms aim to increase computer literacy and digital competencies of youth, men and women in Bougainville.

These hubs located in the North, Central and Southern regions of Bougainville will support education and training services, assisting the acceleration of business ideas and the establishment of viable business entities to transition to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

UNDP is working to deliver the construction of the facilities with the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s Minister of Primary Industries and Marine Resources, Yolanda Geraldine Paul, and representatives of the Departments of Land, Education, Human Resources and Community Development, as well as District and Town officers.

Hon. Yolande Geraldine Paul said this project not only focused on construction of the Innovation Hubs, but also implementing a timely and much needed training programme supporting young women and men, aspiring entrepreneurs in Bougainville.

“We hope this project will contribute to knowledge exchange and innovation in the region and support young entrepreneurs, providing them with required knowledge and skills."

Initially 100 entrepreneurs will be trained in each of the Buka, Arawa and Buin communities focusing on setting up a business, legal and business obligations, basic accounting and financial literacy, access to micro and small loans from financial institutions, human resource management, and sales and marketing. Future advanced training opportunities will relate to trade finance, supply chain, exporting, intellectual property, value add and other aspects relative to women and youth.

The program will help support an increase of entrepreneurs to move into more value-adding business activities that generate employment in Bougainville. Implemented under the ‘Sustaining Peace through Economic Empowerment’ project - funded by the Government of Japan, the project aims to stimulate opportunities for investment and jobs toward Bougainville's peacebuilding process toward political and economic development.