The National, Thursday 24th November 2011
By ANCILLA WRAKUALE
THE Small Business Development Corp (SBDC) has invested over K3 million in various established banks to support small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in PNG during the last four years.
SBDC had set up loan facilities with the National Development Bank, ANZ and the PNG Microfinance Bank to help start and grow businesses.
SBDC received business submissions from business groups and individuals and then make referrals to the three banks, who then decide to finance the project based on their guidelines.
SBDC was created under the Small Business Development Corp Act 1990 to concentrate its resources on developing and promoting micro SMEs in PNG.
Managing director of SBDC Diri Kobla said the corporation had realised the importance of SMEs in the economy and they were working closely with various stakeholders to support and develop SMEs in their capacity.
He said sometimes the funding from the government through the development budget was inadequate to fully support SMEs.
SBDC business development services manager Nathan Timo said SME was a significant part of the economy and needed adequate support from the government to grow.
He said the key challenge faced by SMEs was the lack of accessible financing to start up businesses.
Other challenges highlighted included common hindrances faced by businesses such as lack of market information, poor infrastructure facilities, unavailability and lack of information and technology.
Timo said the failure rate by SME starting businesses was quite high.
He said SBDC was conducting a basic baseline survey of SME in PNG to keep data of SMEs operating in the country.
The result of the survey was expected to be ready early next year.
Meanwhile, the women in business desk at SBDC had trained over 350 women across the country with various business skills and knowledge for them to start and manage their own businesses.
Women in business officer Maria Kalap said the women were using what they acquired through the training at the micro level.
She said they had many successful stories from women who had received training from them and were now into their own businesses.
Kalap said the example was a Goroka-based business woman who now had a K1.5 million project to sew school uniforms for all primary schools in Eastern Highlands.
Meanwhile, SBDC’s training programme “start and improve your business” had been used by NCD Governor Powes Parkop to train young people at 8 Mile outside Port Moresby.
Eight-Mile Youth president Lucas Kita said the governor’s initiative was welcomed by the youth because it would empower them with business knowledge and skills to start small livelihood projects.
Kita said these were types of training that youths needed to help them manage their projects and make an honest living instead of indulging in crime.
He thanked the NCD governor for sponsoring the course, saying it must be an ongoing programme to help youths understand basics in running their own businesses.
Kita said now that they had undergone the training, their main challenge was to secure funds to start their various business plans.