The GameChanger Initiative’s, launched by UNDP with the support from Australian Government in 2014, is aligned to the National Government’s SME Policy. There is untapped potential and market in social enterprise. For example, based on UNDP’s report through the Intellecap’s analysis, education sector has US$ 309 million, financial inclusion has US$276 million, agriculture has US$ 187 million, clean energy has US$177 million market value waiting to be tapped into.
The primary objectives of the GameChanger Initiative was to recognize and provide a launching pad for innovate business ideas to nurture and grow them into viable and profitable business ventures, while also providing sustainable solutions for critical developmental challenges.
The project review, conducted by IBBM, found that the business-plan competition generated interest from different stakeholders, including donors, investor community, PNG Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, government and financial institutions.
With over 600 ideas originally registered, the business plan competition received 328 submissions from across PNG of which 42 submissions were shortlisted. These 42 selected entrepreneurs were supported with essential trainings from Silicon Valley experts, week-long boot camp focusing on financial and basics of accounting, and mentorship support from business experts. Entrepreneurs also received support and mentorship from several renowned local entrepreneurs. The competition also connected some of the finalists with investors, business houses and the Government representatives.
The final report finds that project has a potential to grow and help adress development challenges the country faces. The report also found that key challenges of the program were lack of incubation platforms, limited access to finance, lack of seed and crowd funding possibilities and governance issues.
Some key challenges faced by the entrepreneurs included limited capital, lack of assets or collateral for securing bank loans and importantly lack of support facilities for startups such an incubator to access specialized support lack of access to technology and ICT, and lack of support for mentorship and on-going support.
The experience of the pilot project also highlighted the untapped market potential, demand and opportunity for entrepreneurship as well as the need to provide additional activities to further support social entrepreneurship.
To provide this support, the second phase of the programme will be designed to mobilize and amplify PNG entrepreneurial spirit. The second phase will build on the lessons learned and will focus on fostering, nurturing, accelerating required connection. It will also explore the potential to create a facility for seed capital and an incubator for startups.
“Through this business plan competition we witnessed innovative and creative potential of PNG enrepreneurs. With the new Sustainable Development Goals, these entrepreneurs can be the game-changers and by developing their business help the country to address the pressing development issues. We stand ready to support further this initiaitve”, said UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Roy Trivedy.
“It was a life-changing experience. It allowed me to look into myslef. My idea was around improving public health. I want to provide X-ray services in the rural areas. My idea was shortlisted and I received great support. It gave me a great platform to network and build relationships. The main challenge was to change my mindset. Entrepreneurship is a journey and along the way you have to learn. What you initiatilly though might not work and the relaity turns out different. But you have to be able to change your thinking and keep pushing. Not every door will be opened for you, but you have to have your values and the ability to withsnad difficulties”, Roberta Morlin, Business Plan Competition finalist.
The GameChangers Initiativeis a development sector initiative implemented by UNDP and supported by the Australian Government, which aims to influence the inclusive development discourse through its work with entrepreneurs, impact investors and inclusive businesses.