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Digital entrepreneurs in PNG need boost

THERE are lack of appropriate financial and policy support in the ICT (information and communication technology) space to empower technological entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea , says interim president and co-founder of PNG ICT Cluster Winifred Amini.
Amini told a forum recently that digital entrepreneurs were no different to other small businesses and lacked support to translate their ideas into marketable products and services.
“The difference of value creation for a digital entrepreneurs and a small business is not distinct in the PNG business ecosystem,” she said.
“Therefore access to finance is difficult and entrepreneurs struggle to get the traction or to translate their ideas to marketable products and services.
“More importantly, policies to optimise business and innovative environments are critical to digital entrepreneurship but are lacking.”
Amini said that PNG hosted Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the spot light was on the country’s ambition to have a digital economy but it still lagged behind other Apec economies.
“PNG leaders, policy makers and businesses aspired for a digital future, however after 20 years of digital connectivity, SME (Small-medium enterprise) contributions is only six per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product), not close to 20-30 per cent enjoyed by most Apec economies,” she said. “To advance entrepreneurship in the country, PNG needs to face the latent factors in relation to building an enabling environment which requires attention to a range of critical issues such as adequate infrastructure, internet access, human capacity building and appropriate policies.
“The local technology sector, particularly the digital ICT is growing at twice the rate as the global economy with much of the rate in start-ups and covers all sectors of the economy.
“This is including the agriculture, health, education, financial services and manufacturing and many other sectors with many young entrepreneurs already becoming the driving force of job creation.”
Amini said, however, PNG did not have the legislation in place to benefit from e-commerce and the reality was that there needed to be changes done. The National/PNGeHow

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