Boardroom briefing: female-owned MSMEs hit by pandemic, raising the roof in Canberra, and retail investors take Wall Street on a wild ride


COVID-19 hits women-owned MSMEs hard, high jinx at the PNG High commission, and retail investor rollercoaster in the US. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Papua New Guinean businesswomen hit by pandemic

Floriculture is mainly conducted by women in PNG. Picture: BAI

A report from the Center for International Private Enterprise has found that businesses run by women in Papua New Guinea face a high risk of closure after the fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report looked at nearly 300 female-owned and operated MSMEs and found that women operating start-up businesses faced more significant problems and higher levels of closures. It also found that women entrepreneurs with lower education tended to operate unregistered businesses, which increased the risk of closure.

A key finding of the report was that PNG’s female business owners needed more help accessing support.

‘Increase women’s participation in economic decision-making and increase access to information around where to source support and available financial assistance,’ the report said. ‘This requires commitment by all stakeholders, including development donors and community organisation.’

Shingle life in Canberra

The now-watertight roof at the PNG High Commission in Canberra. Credit: Nick-D/Wikipedia

The Canberra Times has reported that fixing the roof at the Papua New Guinea’s High Commission in Australia’s capital city has involved ‘bees, beer and an awful lot of bother’.

After hail damage to the High Commission’s roof, an Australian company, Abereum, set about fixing the roof that has been designed in the traditional style of a PNG spirit house.

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The first hurdle was sourcing the irregular cedar-wood shingles. The company tried PNG, then Malaysia and finally had to get them shipped out from Canada, of all places. Then came the bees: 10,000 of them were found inside the roof and had to be relocated, leaving behind 10 kilos of honey.

Finally, the company could get started on replacing the tiles, a tricky task when it is a jigsaw of 10,000 shingles.

And the beers? The company had some cedar wood left over and they offered it free to locals, in exchange for some beer for their workers.

International stocks on retail investor rollercoaster

How Wall Street must miss the comparatively sedate clearing and settlement processes used in our own PNGX.

With more time on their hands and very little confidence in long-term calls, Wall Street is finding that it is see-sawing on the whims of retail investors using trading apps. These are driving some pretty heady and unpredictable stock movements.

According to CNN, the latest example is Kodak, whose shares jumped over 500 per cent based on news that it will get a US government loan to set up a new pharmaceutical unit.

The moves are heavily influenced by the popular trading app Robinhood, which is popular with day traders because it doesn’t charge fees.

‘The market is more driven by retail [investors] in the short term than it has been in some time,’ Jason Brady, President and CEO of Thornburg Investment Management told CNN Business.

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