Women entrepreneurs say ICT infrastructure and expertise delivering economic benefits

As Papua New Guinea moves into an era driven by technology, both business and the role of women in business are being transformed, Mollina Kapal tells Business Advantage PNG.

Westpac’s awards (left to right): Karo Lelai – Winner of the PWC Private Sector Award; Mollina Mercy Kapal – Winner of the Precinct Public Sector Award; Ruth Kissam – Winner of the Trukai Community Award and overall WOW winner; Priscilla Kevin – Winner of the Steamships Not For Profit Award; Crystel Kewe – Winner of the IBBM Young Achievers Award; Cybel Druma – Winner of the Moore Printing Sports Award. Source: Westpac
Westpac’s awards (left to right): Karo Lelai – Winner of the PWC Private Sector Award; Mollina Mercy Kapal – Winner of the Precinct Public Sector Award; Ruth Kissam – Winner of the Trukai Community Award and overall WOW winner; Priscilla Kevin – Winner of the Steamships Not For Profit Award; Crystel Kewe – Winner of the IBBM Young Achievers Award; Cybel Druma – Winner of the Moore Printing Sports Award. Source: Westpac

For Mollina Kapal, a winner in this year’s Westpac Outstanding Women of the Year (WOW) awards, expertise in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has been fundamental to her successful career.

Having ICT skills and capabilities opens up a wide range of career opportunities, as well as delivering great business outcomes, says Kapal, who is the Principal Project Engineer for the National Information & Communications Technology Authority of Papua New Guinea.

 ‘The roll-out of reduced voice and data rates is a big win for business,’ she says.

‘People have better access to information and can connect across an often logistically challenged country and with the world,’ Kapal adds.

Uptake

Despite the late start in Papua New Guinea’s uptake of ICT, Kapal says people have quickly adapted to new technologies and have been embracing the benefits.

‘We’ve seen an uplift for businesses and in overall productivity but, more importantly, capability in ICT has provided great opportunities for women in business.’

Echoing this sentiment, Luania Temu, founder of U’i Tiki Fashion and one of three finalists in the entrepreneur category of the WOW awards, says access to ICT continues to play a key role in the success of her online retail business.

‘Having a business online reduces risk and opens the door for female entrepreneurs.’

‘As the first local female entrepreneur to launch a fashion retail website a few years ago, I have since seen a significant growth in the online space for retailers across a range of industries,’ Temu says.

Access and expertise

U’I Tiki’s Luania Temu. Source: NBC Extra

Access to and expertise in ICT allows business to reach a wide audience, which you can’t always do from a shop front or office, Temu adds.

With no rent and minimal overheads, Temu says having a business online reduces risk and opens the door for female entrepreneurs.

‘Technology will be critical to improving the standard of living and connecting communities.’

‘We are seeing a new generation of women in business who are challenging what has been considered the ‘normal’ standards of how businesses should be run,’ she says.

With more Papua New Guineans engaging in self-generated income from ICT businesses and taking up careers in the sector, Kapal says this will play a role in the country gaining a competitive advantage in the global market.

Connecting communities

In addition to ICT infrastructure and expertise helping drive local business, Temu says technology will be critical to improving standards of living and connecting communities.

‘The ICT platform has proven to be a catalyst in providing an avenue for an equal playing field for women.’

‘The development of ICT is likely to have a positive impact on the future of Papua New Guinea.’

‘It’s important businesses and the wider community are supported by reducing internet rates, providing more ICT programs for business development and the implementation of user-friendly policies for women of all levels,’ Temu argues.

Having enjoyed a successful career in ICT, Kapal says working in the sector provides great opportunities, particularly for women seeking a challenging but flexible career.

‘The ICT platform has proven to be a catalyst in providing for an equal playing field for women.’

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