Building a business in Papua New Guinea with little or no capital

While finance, or access to capital, is an issue for young entrepreneurs, it is possible to build a business with little to no capital, says Roberta Morlin, founder and co-owner of KLM Consulting, which provides marketing research and technology consulting. Financial literacy is the key, adds Melbourne consultant, David Martin.

A finalist in 2015 Kumul GameChanger program, Roberta Morlin is a leader in PNG’s growing community of young tech-savvy entrepreneurs. With guidance, she moved from creating apps to running a consulting agency specialising in market research and technology.

Entrepreneur Roberta Morlin Source: Business Advantage International

‘I pretty much do a lot of work around artificial intelligence,’ she told the Business Advantage PNG Investment conference in Sydney last month.

‘When I first started in 2015, I had 30 different ideas and I had to validate (reduce) those ideas down to 15. I had to further validate over the next 15 months down to four, which I am currently working on,’ she said.

Morlin also studied at Draper University in Silicon Valley and is also a mentor with the 2017 Kumul Gamechanger program.

Health and education

Morlin believes the PNG health and education sectors provide opportunities for young IT entrepreneurs. Her mentoring network now has more than 70 members.

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‘We sit down and we talk with these youth and we understand their passion so that we can match them to globally-funded opportunities.

‘You can build a business with little to no capital, which is what we’re teaching.’

‘Fifty per cent of our population are youths, so we need to prepare them for the jobs of the future—and not only what they are currently studying.

‘We sit down and talk to small and medium-sized businesses, and youth who want to create different opportunities.’

‘Funding is an issue,’ she says, ‘but you can build a business with little to no capital, which is what we’re teaching.’

Morlin advises budding entrepreneurs that if they think that capital ‘is always an issue when you rock up to the banks, maybe you should think about how you can start small and very lean’.

‘Entrepreneurs should just take the plunge and slowly build a business.’

She says that with savings of just K500, you can start an online business tomorrow and keep growing until you’ve used that capital until you build something big.

‘It’s always what you’re passionate about growing, as opposed to understanding market trends.’

Financial literacy

Dr David Martin. Credit: Melbourne Polytechnic

Entrepreneurs should just take the plunge and slowly build a business, rather than wait for a bank loan or an aid grant, according to Dr David Martin, Chairman of M·CAM Inc., which provides financial advice in developing countries, and Creator of the CNBC IQ100 equity index.

Martin’s Heritable Innovation Trust has been involved in the development of community projects and companies in Rabaul. This includes Amruqa (formerly Pacific Spices), which exports spices and essential oils.

He says communities often believe that they need aid or grants to develop their local resources.

‘It’s far better,’ he tells Business Advantage PNG, ‘that they get supply agreements. The focus needs to be on the purchasing side.’

Martin says financial literacy is the key to business success, particularly understanding capital markets, finance corporations, asset holding, leasing corporations, and other developer-related entities.

Comments

  1. Alfred Paul Kiandu says:

    I’m a aspiring young entrepreneur. I’m seeking business partners who has the financial capacity to partner with me to start and operate a coffee buying,processing and export business. I see there is a big potential in this business. If interested and to discuss further you can contact me on Digicel # 72052412 or email to alfiekiandu.58@gmail.com

  2. Danny Tanakae says:

    My tribe has a large hectar of land with mature pine trees but we lack advise as on how to venture into investment opportunities with this asset on hand. We held in meeting to open up an a youth group association and integrate our asset into use in investment ways. We lack advise.
    Thank you

  3. Asi Ibusubu says:

    I raised some money around K100, 000 to start up my finance company for low income earners. I have registered the company but need technical advise to setup administration and runs it. I also need someone to write up my company proposal, cashflows and business profile and start up so that commission will be given. Can someone has the skills to assist me? Please then contact me on Digicel no. 73821852 or email me on asisupernova7@gmail.com

  4. Thank you for sharing. I am looking for a local partner with on a number of businesses into health; agriculture; management consultancy; pharmacy; mining; gas and oil. I have a registered business
    Interested parties contact me by email
    absonsim@gmail.com

  5. Nelco Wai says:

    Do we have any venture capitalists in PNG? Is there someone who have the resources and dares to take the risk. I have many good ideas and proposals but cannot find the one whom I can partner with to venture into. Please if there is someone who wants to take the risk let me know. My email is nelcowai461@gmail.com or contact me on 675 79442180

  6. Jeremy Kawage says:

    I started Pacific Drainage Solution a company that is specialised in Drainage system and I started with no money,no vehicle nothing.I went to the bank with my first sub-contract agreement to asking for a small start up capital but was refuse because I have not done any transaction.
    Now I am at the bank again because I need some little help from the Bank to help me with my second contract.
    For me I see alot of our fellow brothers and sisters have potential ideas but the problem is start up capital.
    I am never giving up

  7. Allan Wawah says:

    Developing my registered land, titled with 38 hectares area has been really challenging for me. This is because I lacked financial capacity to start up and expand.

    I am also interested to strike a joint venture with any business firms in the area of agriculture, livestock, housing, tourism or conservation but it has been also difficult to identify potential and genuine investors.

    Hence, advise how I can go about I can be supported.

  8. Allan Wawah says:

    I am a young entrepreneur in Madang Province. I have registered land with legal title. The current market valuation of my land equates to about PGK500,00 according to a local valuer in Madang Province, PNG. It is situatated about 20 minutes drive from Madang town towards the south coast. The land is suitable for agriculture, livestock, housing and other related development. Although I have registered a business name, I lack financial capacity to start up my proposed small business.

    Please advise how I can be supported.

    Thank you.

  9. Leo Kaptigau says:

    The sad reality for startups and young entrepreneurs is the lack of financial and non financial venture capital in Papua New Guinea. Companies or potential venture capitalists unwilling to risk investment in startups. Whether you need money or not, any startup still develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that will have to attract a venture capital investor either financial or non financial to take the next step up. That again should also depend on the environment and ecosystem a startup in PNG can scale. I personally see lots of opportunities in the AgroTech or Agro commodity market, which is a growing within the South East Asia particularly our neighborhood Indonesia who tops Asia in this sector. One particular startup is iGrow a startup focusing on connecting farmers, landowners and venture capitalist who are not farmers or landowners but can see the investment opportunity in agriculture. PNG should learn a lot from this.

  10. Johnny Kolkia says:

    I was hoping that I will start my law Firm with some capitals that I expected to recieve but I waited and it never eventuate. I could not run to the bank for a loan or even allow others who saw the potential to invest in my Firm and wanted to do so but I refused their offer, simply because I didn’t want pressure from such persons.

    So I started small with absolutely nothing . No start up capital, no nothing but I believe that I can make it coz am very forcused on my goals. It’s really tough but am still sailing though.

    • Council Johnny,
      With God noting is impossible, so long as you are focused. You have build some prominent law firms to where they are now, you can also apply the same skills, principals and attitude to your own firm.

  11. I am into on line store marketing, selling authentic PNG bilums, I spent almost K6000 plus to start this business. purchased electronic equipment, plus thousand kina worth of bilums from Lae Market. And I still have not fully update or fix, pay my bills on line. I still need more money to really furnished this business. I believed I will fix this soon.

  12. Jerome Tarcusy says:

    I am a young Bougainvillean. I have plan to start up a Rental houses. I have a trees for timber and a land for building the houses. The problem is the capital to start a business. Can you help me in someways?

    My email: http://www.jerometarcusy@gmail.com

  13. JEFFREY LASON says:

    I am a young entreprenuer who has lately registered my building construction company and have no capital available for start up. I am here seeing it as an issue to me.

    I would like to know where I could get support.

  14. I am into publishing and business start-up training. The most common complaint of would-be entrepreneurs is lack of start-up capital.

    I show people how they can raise money from informal activities to start real businesses. I also tell people that banks will not lend to them because the banks don’t know them and their abilities to run businesses. Their best bet is to start on their own and go to the banks after they have established transaction records.

    I also talk to a lot of young people. My message to them is that jobs are scarce so being in business for themselves is a viable option. With technology, they can start with little start up capital and operational costs. Again, not being able to borrow should not hinder them.

    I am glad to hear that what I have been saying to people tallies with what Dr. David Martin and Roberta Morlin are reported to have stated.

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