Aspiring entrepreneur, James Mamak, believes teaching children and youth in matters of financial literacy and entrepreneurship will break the spell of escalating unemployment.
James, a participant in the recent UNDP supported Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course described it, “as a solution to a rising numbers of unemployed youth and social problems on Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.”
The training is aimed at fostering employment and entrepreneurial skills, as well as having access to business development and services from the ‘Bougainville Innovation Hubs.’
The Bougainville Innovation Hubs aim is to develop and sustain viable micro, small and medium enterprises across Bougainville and is part of the ‘Sustaining peace through economic empowerment Project” funded by the Government of Japan through a triparty agreement between UNDP and Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Trainings are being conducted by UNDP and Think Place Australia.
This partnership is aimed at championing entrepreneurial spirits with focus of education, entrepreneurship and microfinance.
Through the Innovation Hubs, women and youth from Bougainville can begin their entrepreneurial journey, improve their financial literacy, and look to resource themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills towards participating in a digitally focused future.
James said the training teaches one to value themselves, understanding their own strengths, weakness and potential to grow.
He works as a shipping Supervisor in Buka Town but runs a mobile market stall near his house in Malasang village on the main highway where he sells snacks, cold drinks and flowers to commuters.
He said he set this up for his family to subsidise his income to help meet the escalating prices of goods and services. He has been pleased with how much additional money it has brought into his family finances.
“In the village, SME’s really work! I believe in it because it helps a lot of families and especially the youth to allow them to generate money. However, this has been purely based on seeing others and imitating what they do,” said James and is teaching his children the value of making and saving money.
He added, “With the current economy in the country, it is highly advised that we begin to save at an early age and instil this culture with our youth.”