SME Corp Chairman looks to drive the creation of SMEs up to 2025

Welcome,

Six months into his five-year term, the Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation of Papua New Guinea, John Pora, talks exclusively to Business Advantage PNG about the government body’s ambitious plans to develop the SME sector.

The SME Corporation’s John Pora. Credit: Godfreeman Kaptigau

If the PNG government is to reach its stated goal of bringing 500,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) into existence by 2030, John Pora says the Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation (SME Corp) must have the capacity to activate around 240 new entities every day across PNG’s 22 provinces.

As the arm of the PNG government that deals with all things SME, Pora says the SME Corp has formulated three strategies geared towards building a bridge between the government and the MSME sector.

‘We’ve got so much raw resources and land, and we don’t have the belief that we can do something with it.’

The SME Corp is planning to the launch its strategy document, The Road to Fifty, in September. Referring to the 50th anniversary of PNG’s Independence, which will occur in 2025, the strategy is based on three principles: integration, communication, and people, processes and performance.

‘We’re [also] looking at the [internal] business side of things: as a government body, we rely on tax but we don’t want to tell our people to do business while we remain on the government teat,’ Pora tells Business Advantage PNG.

Expansion

Among various projects to help meet the 500,000 target, the SME Corp is launching provincial business incubation centres in West New Britain (construction is expected to commence by the end of the year) and upgrading a textile centre in Port Moresby.

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The corporation also has plans to move from a policy-driven body to one of implementation, by enabling direct public access to its resources and services.

‘These are exciting times which require an organisational cultural shift. I think, as a country, we’re ready for it’, Pora says.

He makes clear that his goal is to prepare the corporation for the turn of the PNG’s half-century independence celebrations in 2025.

‘I come representing my family that have been in the public service for the past 57 years – government was our life.’

‘That itself is going to be a dynamic period to adjust to, but over the next four years I’m confident that the drive and strategies we’re putting in are going to shift us into the direction we should be in today’, he says.

Pora says the speed at which PNG has transitioned has created a vast gap between the formal and informal economy. The question always is, how we can bring our people forward into the future?

‘We’ve got so much raw resources and land, and we don’t have the belief that we can do something with it,’ he says.

Pora is keen to change this.

Background

Pora brings to his role a colourful background, from being brought up by his grandparents in a village setting for a portion of his childhood to experience in his family’s successful businesses.

‘I come representing my family, who have been in the public service for the past 57 years. Government was our life, with my parent’s various roles in public service and nation building and I’m honoured to contribute in my time,’ he says.

Pora is a director himself of various entities in the SME sector, has worked across 14 provinces and 10 countries, and has 20 years’ experience in the field of ecommerce. He appears a well-suited to help PNG achieve its 500,000 goal.

Comments

  1. Justin Bisia says

    Thank you John,
    Yes, indeed. Any hope for those of us who have been sweating it out quietly out there with our people trying to help them get their SMEs going?

    I am based in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, and I have been working with M.S.M.Es since 2014 administratively, and I definitely need assistance from the SME Corp/Government too. Smec itself cannot do everything from the HQ. We the M.S.M.E advocates from respective provinces are needed!

  2. Markwel John says

    Any hope to those of us helping the SME business in the country? We need some consultation fee to create more SME at the disadvantaged area!!

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