Empowering Lihirian Women at the Apeketon Business Hub

First opened in 2019, the Apeketon Business Hub offers a wide range of skill development programs and workshops to aspiring and established small business operators in Lihir. It also provides clients with mentoring and consulting services available at the drop-in resource centre, sponsored by Newcrest LGL and delivered in partnership with ABV. Many successful Businesswomen have been enthusiastic participants and honed their skills through the Hub’s programs and services.

One of these programs is the ‘Your Enterprise Scheme’ (YES) Program, with streams for start-ups, growing and established businesses. YES Program graduate, Germain Ziekziek, is President of the not-for-profit Lihir Women’s Association. As such, she is committed to developing, empowering, and supporting women to do business on the island. Germain is looking to her workshop experience to build on skills she needs to run the Association.

‘We are reorganising our association to formally register a business arm for the women of the 15 wards in Lihir, so we can fund our activities and give all women and girls an opportunity. The YES start-up program is putting our group in a better position to get our business arm working.’ said Germain.

Another YES alumni is small business owner, Lisa. Lisa completed YES training and went on to secure major business with Newcrest including a contract for marine services. Lisa learned how to manage her own payroll and accounts, saving 5,000 kina a month, and grew her staff from 6 in 2007, to 51 employees in 2021.

‘The things Liane [one of the skilled business professionals from ABV] helped me with was so useful and now I am helping others,’ said Lisa. ‘Now I’m self-sufficient – it helps a lot.’

Another inspiring success story is Ms Loise Kondiak, a wife and mother of two children from Nayal Clan, Lisel Village on Lihir Island.

Along with raising her children and nurturing her family, Loise is the Sole Proprietor and Business Owner of Elai Limited, Loise attended and completed the three-day Family Money Management Program (FMMP) and followed up with the five-day Your Enterprise Scheme (YES) Start Up training program.

Loise described the YES Start Up training as an eye opener.

‘The basic business skills and knowledge I gained from the YES Start Up course was a real awakening for me,’ Loise said. ‘The business model canvas gave me the basic tools and know-how and helped me to do business correctly. I finally found the solutions I needed for starting a business’. 

As a direct result of the workshops, Loise was able to prepare her business documents and applied for vendors and accreditation for labour hire employees such as storemen, blasters and boiler makers. She also secured a business loan through Bank of South Pacific’s SME Loan program.

ABV CEO Liz Mackinlay said that economically empowering Lihirian women is an integral part of the Apeketon Business Hub.

‘ABV works respectfully with local people to listen to what they need, and we walk alongside them to help deliver positive outcomes for communities. With the support of Newcrest we have empowered local people to develop businesses that grow the Lihirian economy. It’s been especially pleasing to see the number of successful businesswomen that have participated in our programs’

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