Boardroom Briefing: corporate talent pool widens, Visa to help Asia-Pacific SMEs, and supporting entrepreneurs


Corporates looking further afield for talent post-COVID, Visa aims to help 10 million Asia-Pacific SMEs and one university doubles down on its support for entrepreneurs. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

International bank lifts regional hiring limitations

Workers in remote communities may be big beneficiaries from the COVID-related shift to at-home working. Australia’s fifth largest bank, ING Australia tells The Australian Financial Review [AFR, paywall] that the pandemic has taught it that it can now deal with skills shortages by employing people anywhere, not just close to the bank’s city base.

‘There is an opportunity now for us to think about how we recruit across the country, because you’re really removing the need for people to physically come to Sydney,’ Chief Information Officer Linda Da Silva told the AFR. ‘For me it’s exciting because it means that I can tap into a broader pool of talent to bring into ING. And that’s something I’ve been working through and talking through with my leadership team.’

She added that there had been some increased investment to deal with the COVID-19 lockdown such as new-and-improved tech for key staff, but that the pay off was a better remote-working business model.

Visa steps in to help Asia-Pacific SMEs

Visa is planning to aid SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region. Credit: Visa

Visa has flagged a commitment to help 10 million small businesses across the Asia-Pacific region with a new range of initiatives to help SMEs go cashless in the wake of the COVID-19 push for businesses to forgo cash transactions.

With ecommerce on the rise in PNG, thanks in part to the arrival of the Coral Sea Cable, Visa aims to empower digital-first businesses in the region and encourage digital payments, but it also wants to remind shoppers of the benefits of keeping their money in their local communities.

‘Commerce across Asia-Pacific is shifting further into digital in the wake of COVID-19, from more people ordering essentials online to people looking for secure, touchless ways to pay in person,’ said Chris Clark, Regional President, Asia-Pacific, Visa. ‘Visa’s role as a payment network means we can help SMEs adapt to these new ways of managing and growing their business, ensuring that these crucial players can recover.’

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Clark outlined the full range of measures over at Yahoo! Finance.

Supporting entrepreneurs

‘We know from research conducted in both Australia and overseas that the overwhelming majority of new jobs are created by companies less than five years old,’ asserts David Burt, Director of Entrepreneurship at Australia’s University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Startup Daily.

Unlike many Australian universities, which have been cutting programs during to funding issues, UNSW has ‘more than doubled’ its support for start-ups during the COVID-19 crisis.

The University offers activities such as mentoring, skills programs and a full three-month accelerator program, all notably backed by philanthropic funding. With these and other programs moving online due to COVID-190, they’ve been able to vastly expand the number of entrepreneurs they have been able to support.

PNG has nascent initiatives to foster entrepreneurship, such as the program in Pacific Adventist University’s School of Business. The UNSW example should inspire PNG to better support such programs, that give PNG’s startups the best chance of success.


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