Papua New Guinea Women Entrepreneurs Connect (PNGWEC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with proponents of the DEFINE initiative – which includes PNGX Markets, Pacific Capital Markets Development, Emerging Venture Management (Unkapt), and the PNG Digital ICT Cluster.

PNGWEC has over 5000 members and was established to motivate and empower women in business. The MOU outlines how it can cooperate in delivering several DEFINE objectives. These include improving technical assistance for female-led micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and providing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to build and expand businesses.

The DEFINE Initiative has several key objectives. One is to improve the accessibility of financial and banking services for all, particularly women and other vulnerable members of society. This includes their integration into markets and value chains.

Another objective is to promote women’s empowerment by enhancing the use of enabling technology, especially information and communications tech.

PNGWEC Chairwoman Esther Igo said, “We are very pleased to be an integral partner with this DEFINE Initiative. This is a very strategic partnership as PNGWEC endeavour to promote, facilitate and progress the agenda of economic empowerment of women in Papua New Guinea.

“This initiative gives PNGWEC members and all other Women Entrepreneurs an opportunity to expand and build their businesses. Most Women MSMEs have concentrated their operations locally, and this partnership opens the opportunity to accelerate and boost the Women MSMEs into trading and exporting Internationally.

“Assessment and capacity building will be accorded to the matured organizations who have a sizeable turnover, are profitable and have employees.

She added, “We are excited and looking forward to working in collaboration with our partners to achieve our objectives.”

David Lawrence, the PNGX Chairman, said, “PNGWEC is an important partner for the development of the DEFINE Initiative and reach out to entrepreneurial women, especially in the MSME sector. It presents an ideal opportunity to provide business, financial and technology skills training to this important part of the PNG economy.

“We hope that many members of PNGWEC will be participants in a new business skills program for women which the DEFINE Initiative is developing with the assistance of the UNCDF as announced last week.”

Mr Lawrence added, “The relationship with PNGWEC also fits well with the MOU we have with Mama Bank. PNGWEC’s interest to explore artificial intelligence solutions to improve women’s access to finance ideally aligns with the interests of the DEFINE initiative and Mama Bank.”