Launch of the Entrepreneur Accelerator programme

UNDP together with Centre for Arts and Innovation, Tool Boox and Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA), have officially launched the Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme at the Center for Arts & Innovation in Port Moresby on October 26.

October 26, 2022

UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Dirk Wagener (second from right), Chairman of SME Corporation, Mr. John Pora Schmidt (first from left) with facilitators and participants of the Entrepreneur Accelerator programme take a group photo after the launch.

Seru Kepa | UNDP Papua New Guinea

The Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme will equip women-owned and women-led MSMEs in PNG with the skills and knowledge necessary to take advantage of opportunities, strengthen and refine their business models, ideas, and execution.  

The 6-week free training programme aims to inspire and engage women. Through innovations and skills that are essential in accelerating and developing their businesses, it will create an enabling environment for them to realize their potential through inclusive technical and vocational training. 

UNDP Papua New Guinea Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener, in officially launching the programme said UNDP is proud to be partnering with Micro, Small, and Medium-Size Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to realize their potential to enable them to drive change and to innovate. 

“We are proud to provide continued support to a growing MSME sector and entrepreneurs, making them resilient towards the external shocks such as supply chain and trade disruptions triggered by the Covid 19 pandemic,” said Mr Wagener. 

Chairman of the SME Corporation, John Pora Schmidt also spoke at the event affirming the objective of the initiative for Micro, Small, and Medium Size Enterprises’ to be better organize and to utilize their opportunities for growth. 

“The kind of support that we have today and the partnerships around you, take advantage of it, as it just takes a small knowledge and skill to make a difference to grow and build yourself to the next level.“ 

He paid tribute to the partners who are supporting these groups of innovative women create change in their lives, homes, and communities.  

Lino Eaki, a participant and teacher thanked UNDP and the partners for the opportunity. She described it as a blessing for many of the participants who are either just starting out or already working on their small businesses. 

She compared the training programmes to the small childcare center she runs as a ‘stepping- stone’.  

“The last six days we have been exposed to the trainings and the sessions; it has been mind- blowing. We are learning the basic skills to start-up and run our businesses,” she said.  

The Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme is part of the UNDP’s Rapid Finance Facility project and is focused on financial inclusion, access to finance and digital financial services for women entrepreneurs and women-owned and led MSMEs. The Rapid Finance Facility (RFF) project intends to mitigate the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in Papua New Guinea. The RFF is to support economic recovery and targeted at women entrepreneurs active in the informal entrepreneurial sector in Port Moresby and Lae. The project will increase access to digital financial services and affordable credit for women entrepreneurs and strengthen their capacities to effectively participate in the emerging digital economy in PNG. 

UNDP is working closely with its sister agency United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to provide technical assistance, and financial support, backing the country’s MSME agenda and creating an improved business environment for MSMEs. 

The project has so far trained over 2,500 women entrepreneurs in financial literacy, business development skills and further 1,200 in digital literacy. The project outreach has been delivered in Port Moresby and Lae through partners including Agbook, PNG Exchange, Tok Stret, Westpac, JYVX and Digicel.