Tucked away in the corner of Hohola in the National Capital District is a warehouse that is host to a hive of activity. You will not miss the yellow and green painted walls of the National Development Bank (NDB) Business Incubation Centre on Kunai Street, which opened its doors in July last year to Port Moresby’s small and medium-size enterprise.
At its peak the center was home to 40 SME that offered everything from catering services, trekking tours, graphic design, hair saloon, tailoring and gifts to herbal therapy and alternative medicine. It opened three months after the O’Neill Government launched its SME Policy 2016, which provides the framework to support and grow PNG’s SME sector, and over the long-term period create employment opportunities for citizens and enable them to participate in business activity.
While the center and its tenants have had their challenges since the opening last year, its one-stop-shop location on Kunai Street and along Waigani Drive has not been lost on them.
“We mainly sell electronic stuff besides stationery and we like the location of the center, it is a good location,” says MacDonald Magari, whose family-run kiosk sells electronic accessories and locally-made gifts.
Lisa Magung’s first foray into business began in floricultural, which she ran out of her Waigani home in the national capital and later expanded to include a gift shop at the NDB center.
When asked how business is doing she said: “I am starting small by opening up a gift shop and I come here every day. With Valentine’s Day coming up people could be looking for gifts to buy for their loved ones so we have jewelry here, hand watches and purse for girlfriends or wallets for boyfriends!”
But it is not all about jewelry, fashion and gifts buying at the center, which the NDB hopes will be the catalyst for ordinary Papua New Guineans to get into business. Local company Buna Treks & Tours, in kiosk 3, sells authentic tapa cloth from the Oro Province and offers tours of the Kokoda Track and PNG’s highest peak, Mount Wilhelm.
Regina Baiwo, who attends to customer queries at the shop, said members of the public or tourists keen on trekking two of PNG’s iconic spots can make queries there. Buna Treks & Tours has a commercial track operators license for Kokoda and is registered with the PNG Investment Promotion Authority.
Nialyn Karpo, the center’s supervisor, says they currently have 38 kiosk owners who open 8 am to 5 pm Sunday to Sunday. The SME owners pay monthly rentals which are determined by the size of their shops. The fees range from K913 (excluding GST) to K3200 for the large-size kiosks.