February 6, 2023

September 27 2022
In the last few weeks I supported the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and IBS University (IBSU) host entrepreneurship events for their students. Pacific Adventist University (PAU) also now offers a Degree in Entrepreneurship and I will be meeting with them tomorrow. It is pleasing to see Tertiary institutions taking a step in this direction. Why is it necessary?

Article 37 of 2022: Schools helping students start SMEs.
In the last few weeks I supported the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and IBS University (IBSU) host entrepreneurship events for their students. Pacific Adventist University (PAU) also now offers a Degree in Entrepreneurship and I will be meeting with them tomorrow. It is pleasing to see Tertiary institutions taking a step in this direction. Why is it necessary?
Limited Job Market
Although no reliable data exists, general observation tells us that more than half of university or college graduates are unemployed and struggle to find employment. At any point in time, there are only ever about 500,000 full time jobs available in the formal sector – both private and public, and most of these jobs are already filled. The only time there is a vacancy is due to staff resignation, termination, or death. This observation is particularly true in the public sector where once employed; you have a job for the rest of your working career. The demand for jobs outstrips the supply of jobs.
The Problem
Doing a 4 year degree, diploma or certificate course does not guarantee employment. The average degree program costs K20,000 per year. Parents and guardians sacrifice to pay the fees only for the majority of graduates to come out and remain unemployed and continue to be dependents.
The Solution
Schools must incorporate SME training into their courses and curriculum in order to better equip students for life after graduation in a limited job market. We must train our people to become employers and not just employees. Giving our people the opportunity to establish their own businesses is empowering. They can become self employed, using the skills they spend thousands of kina to learn, to becoming their own bosses and start making money for themselves.
Secondary Schools
After many years of advocating while I was Deputy Chairman on the Board of the SME Corporation, I am pleased that the Department of Education and the SMEC are now working together to introduce SME course “Know About Business” into the curriculum.
Universities and Colleges
Last week I supported an event hosted by IBSU at Airways Hotel which was funded by The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), a USA funded program where they unveiled their student owned businesses and presented K2500 each to four student run SME start-ups.
Last month I also supported UPNG’s Business Plan competition where their MBA and Undergraduate students prepared a presented business plans and won cash prizes that were sponsored by Exxon Mobil.
This is a step in the right direction by our secondary and tertiary institutions and encouraging entrepreneurship in schools will teach us to become self-reliant and invest in ourselves rather than remain dependents. Not everyone will become an entrepreneur and not everyone will be successful in finding a job, so promoting entrepreneurship is a viable option for students is worth it.
I encourage all schools in PNG to offer an SME program as part of your curriculum. If you need help, email me on des@pacifund.com.
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The national flag carrier, Air Niugini continues to perform exceptionally well in delivering its schedule in July and August this year, again outperforming many airlines in Australia and the Pacific.
PNG Directories Limited have made its first ever K500,000 dividend payment to Telikom Limited last week.
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