Boardroom briefing: more support for startups, effective remote working, keeping employees happy in a crisis


Startups getting more government support, how to be productive working from home, and keeping your essential employees motivated during the COVID-19 crisis.

Can startups save the world?

PNG entrepreneur Jaive Smare at the inaugural Innovation PNG conference. Credit: Rocky Roe

Governments globally are focused on keeping existing businesses going during the coronavirus crisis, and we have seen PNG’s government and central bank taking action too.

It’s realistic to observe, however, that ‘business as usual’ may not be the best way to go – or even possible – in the near future.

That’s why some countries are now starting to place greater emphasis to supporting startup businesses.

Last week, France announced a 4 billion euros (K15 billion) program of support for startups, to be delivered through its public investment bank.

‘Startups represent a growing part the economy – especially when it comes to jobs,’ said France’s Ministry of State for Digital Affairs Cédric O in a statement. ‘They are also working on innovative products and services that have been particularly useful during the lockdown, such as telemedicine appointments, remote work solutions or deliveries.’

Indeed, startups all over the world are working on solutions for a post-coronavirus world – so many, in fact, that research group StartupBlink has launched a global coronavirus innovation map.

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Papua New Guinean startups can add themselves to the map to publicise their work to a global audience.

Work smarter remotely

In response to the entire world working from home (if they can), Forbes has provided its tips for being productive when working remotely.

Some of its nine tips include noise-cancelling headphones (important as children are also off school in some countries), creating a space of your own free from interruptions (easier said than done in a lockdown), and making sure you take decent breaks.

‘Confine your work space to a specific area in your home so your job doesn’t intrude into the lives of other household members and you can concentrate,’ it advises.

Unlocking productivity in the times of COVID-19

Keeping staff motivated is key during the shutdown. Credit: Alexas fotos

Over at New Zealand’s Human Resources Director publication, the focus is keeping up morale for staff still working during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

There is a range of specific advice that start with being aware of your employees emotions during this time as stress will be a major factor in reducing productivity. This is also a good time to set clearer goals so staff can maintain a sense of achievement in tough times, but also to reiterate the values of your company to deter any bad behaviour.

It is a tough time globally but a little understanding and innovation can help your business make it to the other side.


  1. Maggie says

    A brilliant idea Allan. Whilst the PNG Government is committee to business start ups which is also a very good initiative, the bulk of its population is rural based. Same focus is required on our rural population as well.

  2. Allan Wawah says

    Social distancing is strongly encouraged as one of the vital practice to control COVID-19 spread in PNG. It is because of this that employees and general public need to allign themsleves with technological advances, use of IT to raise productivity, production and results.

    I would like to suggest that about 80% of PNG’s population are rural based. They have access to their customary land and most of the times and during the 14 days lock down with no public transport movements, rural people should focus on farming their land for food security reasons. There may be time in the near future where PNG need to rely on our own food production to feed our population. The country may extend lock down because corona virus vacinnes are still not be made available. The only control method of discouraging COVID – 19 to reach our shores is to continue lock down with its strong border control, international human travel and so on. In short, our rural population should be encouraged by the Dept of Agriculture & Livestock, NARI, Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) and other keen stakeholders to venture into serious farming.

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