Using tech to boost SME sector


A BUSINESS start-up programme in Port Moresby has began to fast track small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in PNG through the use of emerging technologies, such as cloud computing.
Supported by the PNG-Australia Partnership, the 12-month pilot programme will be facilitated by Techlab PNG and will work with an initial cohort of nine businesses from across the country.
In the programme, participants receive coaching tailored to their business needs, ranging from designing a business model through to becoming investment ready.
The programme also includes support in developing a strategic plan and culminates in a two-week intensive workshop in Australia.
“There are many passionate and creative entrepreneurs in PNG, with many having faced substantial barriers and challenges,” Techlab PNG cofounder and programme mentor Andy Barker said.
“The Techlab PNG accelerator programme is proving that, with support and guidance, local businesses can thrive and even compete on the world stage.”
One such business is Refer Tech, a cloud-based patient management system, designed to improve tuberculosis health outcomes via end-to-end patient treatment monitoring, data collection and analytics.
Refer Tech is already gaining international interest and hoping to be investment ready by the end of the year.
Another business involved in the accelerator programme is Afore Computer Training Institute.
Founder Patricia Aimapa started the business in Popondetta to
provide technology training to school leavers. She began teaching Microsoft Office to students outdoors using only her phone,
recognising the need and finding a solution regardless of the limitations.
Over the course of a year, the business has grown to include a classroom for students and agreements with local communities and businesses to provide further technology training.