The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with Centre for Arts and Innovation, Tool Box and Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA), marked the successful conclusion of the UNDP Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme (EAP) with a Demonstration Day in Port Moresby, on Friday, 9 December 2022.
Women entrepreneurs successfully participated in a 6-week business acceleration programme, aimed to enhance their skills and knowledge necessary to strengthen and refine their business ideas, models, planning, and execution. The women-owned and led MSMEs participating in the accelerator programme were then given the opportunity to give their culminating pitch at the end of the EAP.
The women-owned and led MSMEs were given an opportunity to showcase the skills and knowledge they gained from the business accelerator course through a business idea presentation to a private sector evaluation panel. This panel was led by the CEO of CPL Group, Mr. Navin Raju and Marketing Manager of National Development Bank, Ms. Mataria Rupa Tau.
“It is our hope that the women entrepreneurs will benefit from this multifaceted programme through education, mentorship, and networking opportunities that will help accelerate their business ideas and skills. This is an important initiative to improve and increase the economic empowerment opportunities for women entrepreneurs with skills including digital, financial, and business development to position them to grow and succeed” said Dirk Wagener, UNDP Resident Representative.
UNDP Private Sector Partnerships Specialist, Dr. Ahmed Awil, in officially closing the programme said, “we are pleased to celebrate the endeavors and future success of these women as they continue their entrepreneurial journey. We acknowledge the hard work and the resilience of these women entrepreneurs, and we are pleased to continue supporting them.’’
The women entrepreneurs were all very excited in pitching their proposals and have said that following the EAP, they have either gained new customers, learnt to embrace digitalization and market their businesses better, or benefitted from increased revenues and profits, during the 6 weeks and put the theory learned to practice.
UNDP was honored to present the top 3 women entrepreneurs with seed capital for their businesses of 10,000 Kina for the top prize to Phyomas Therapy, 6,000 Kina and 4,000 Kina respectively to the second and third runner ups, Margaret’s Kitchen Services Ltd and Jamali Decorations. All of the women entrepreneurs benefitted from the formalization of their businesses were also awarded with smaller seed capital injections.
First prize winner Priscilla Mann of Phyomas Therapy, said at the end of the 6 weeks training, “before attending the EAP, I had no knowledge or training about financial literacy or digital marketing. I thought I was managing my business as best I could, but my finances were all over the place, my social marketing skills were lacking and I felt stuck, I knew I needed help and I am glad it came in the form of this EAP training which was a real blessing for me. “
CEO of CPL Group, Mr. Navin Raju closed the prize giving ceremony by congratulating all the women who competed at the UNDP EAP Demo Day, and reaffirmed CPL’s position as a strong supporter of PNG’s MSMEs and recognized the importance of empowering women. “There is a great amount of potential amongst the women here today. You have presented great business propositions and CPL looks forward to working with you in the coming future”.
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 project has so far trained over 6,700 women entrepreneurs in financial literacy, and 4,000 women in business development and digital literacy skills.