Winners of the inaugural Innovation PNG 2019 Awards announced

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Two of the most innovative projects in Papua New Guinea were recognised on Friday at the inaugural Innovation PNG 2019 conference.

Immaculate Javia from Sustainable Alluvial Mining Services [centre] accepting the inaugural Innovation PNG 2019 Award, Small Organisations. Credit: BAI

The inaugural Innovation PNG 2019 Awards were announced at the Innovation PNG 2019 conference at the Stanley Hotel in Port Moresby on Friday.

The Innovation PNG 2019 Conference and Awards were an initiative of the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Business Advantage International.

The Awards were created to celebrate and encourage innovation in PNG business, government and organisations.

The Innovation PNG Awards received 33 entries from 29 organisations covering industries as diverse as agribusiness, manufacturing, telecommunications, tourism, education, technology, mining, infrastructure, engineering and financial services.

After much discussion and deliberation, the Judging Panel, chaired by Peter Williams, Chief Edge Officer, Deloitte Centre for The Edge, decided upon SP Brewery’s Cassava Project as the winner of the Large Organisation Category (over 10 employees) and Sustainable Alluvial Mining Services as the winner in the Small Organisation Category (less than 10 employees).

Sustainable Alluvial Mining Services

Sustainable Alluvial Mining Services won for its support program for alluvial miners.

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It is a nonprofit organisation established to assist artisanal small scale miners in conducting their activities responsibly, help government organisations with technical advice to understand the sector well and develop policies applicable to the industry, and ensure the sector can be a driver for sustainable rural development. 

The judges noted that ‘the project shows potential to help advance a sector unique to PNG that hasn’t received the attention and resources it deserves.’

If properly encouraged, they said, the project has the potential to help in the development of small-to-medium enterprises across the country.

In accepting the award, Immaculate Javia from Sustainable Alluvial Mining Services said that the project was being hampered by a shortage of funding.

SP Brewery’s Cassava Project

Nancy Gah from SP Brewery [centre] accepting the Innovation PNG 2019 Award for Large Organisations. Credit: BAI

SP Brewery’s project includes the production of cassava for its new alcoholic beverage, Pawa Punch, which is being manufactured at its cassava factory at Erap in the Markham Valley.

The Award judges noted that the cassava project has a massive scope and innovates both in agribusiness and product development.

According to the judges, ‘this imaginative and complex program is the first cassava project in the country and has the potential to encourage others to replace imports with locally grown produce, delivering a positive economic impact.’

Ones to watch

The Chair of the Judging panel Pete Williams said the judges were ‘blown away’ by the entries, which covered all kinds of innovation, from the development of new products, services and software, to ingenious marketing ideas and the adaptation of offshore solutions to PNG conditions.

The judges said that ‘several entries showed sufficient promise and potential to be considered “ones to watch”‘. These entries were:

  • TIPA Innovations from the Trobriand Islands, for their Smart Bricks, which are made from cheap, locally-available materials
  • Siale Travel and Tours, for their reservations and ticketing system for small travel agents
  • Rural Tech Development, for their Internet of Things ecosystem in Port Moresby and robotics program
  • D’jest Investment Ltd t/a Tumbuna TV, for their mobile TV app

In addition, the judges said the following projects merited special commendation:

  • Outspan PNG, for their deployment of a tech-driven system to collect and analyse information on PNG’s smallholder farmers
  • ICTSI South Pacific Ltd, for their digital transformation project, which has the potential to greatly improve terminal operations in PNG
  • Huon Birding, for their innovative birdwatching camp on the Huon Peninsula in Morobe Province, which collapses into a shipping container when not in use.

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