By MALUM NALU
Preparations are well underway for National Development Bank to host its first-ever Women in Business Summit at Holiday Inn from March 25-27.
An NDB banner for the WIB summit set for March 25-27.-Picture by MALUM NALU
The summit was one of the major recommendations from an NDB-commissioned market research into the obstacles and challenges facing current and potential women entrepreneurs from starting, managing and growing their business.
The research was follow-on from NDB’s decision to be the first bank to establish a women’s desk and give special attention to supporting the growth of women-owned and managed businesses in PNG.
Managing director of NDB, Richard Maru, said in just one year of establishing its women in business desk, “we have seen a 1,000% growth in our funding of loans to women-owned and managed companies”.
“In 2010, we lent K750, 000 to 27 women-owned companies and in 2011, we lent K9 million to 90 women-owned and managed companies,” he said.
“There is exponential growth potential of the women in business sector, if the need of our women are addressed, and they are empowered to motivated to start and grow their businesses with strong support structures in place, including training and mentoring services.
“The research results were very interesting as it brought to light a lot of insights that women entrepreneurs face in setting up and running their enterprises in PNG.
“It was found that:
- · Women lack confidence to start businesses;
- They are afraid of banks;
- Do not have necessary business management skills; and
- · Do not have a support network of mentors and much more.
“As a result, NDB and its partner sponsors will stage the first-ever ‘NDB Women in Business Summit’ to address those concerns and develop strategies to support the growth of women entrepreneurs in the SME sector in PNG.
“The summit is for women who are already in business and those that are looking at starting up businesses.”
Pre-registration for the summit closes tomorrow (Friday, Marh 3) as there has been so much interest but not enough space to cater for everyone."
There will be preliminary screening and selection made to ensure that only genuine women in business and those that are seriously intending to start businesses attend.
It will feature international and national women entrepreneur speakers and will cover topis such as how to build a successful business, key business management principles, cash flow analysis, what makes businesses fail, how to differentiate your business, and many more.
“This summit will empower, inspire and add value to PNG women in business and sets the platform for them to take their businesses to the next level,” Maru said.
“In supporting women entrepreneurs in PNG, NDB will also launch the following initiatives, which will further cement its services:
- · A new loan package for women entrepreneurs in PNG;
- · NDB Women In Business mentor network;
- · A website for information, tools, templates etc that women will access for their businesses; and
- · An annual awards programme.
“The Prime Minister has been invited to open the summit.
“NDB believes that with these initiatives and this inaugural summit, this should give the women in small to medium enterprises the confidence they need to move forward.
“These summits will be an annual event and is part of the NDB initiative on supporting the growth of women in business segment of the SME sector in PNG.”