Australian Business Volunteers (ABV), in conjunction with Newcrest Mining, recently held an Inspire Event in Lihir. The Inspire events focus on local entrepreneurs sharing their stories of success as they built their own small to medium enterprise. The event, held on the 24th October, showcased the talents of two female entrepreneurs, Nellie Varmari and Raga Leana.

Nellie grew up under the coffee trees in the highlands of the New Guinea Island and is now one of the leading operators in coffee. Raga shared her knowledge from running her own successful SME in clothing, jewellery, and food. Forty-four local budding business owners attended, with three-quarters of the audience being female.

These showcases are a part of the Newcrest Mining and ABV partnership to increase economic development in the region, facilitated through the Apeketon Business Hub.

{During the first half of 2023, supported by the British High Commission in Solomon Islands, ABV has been working with the Nauru Chamber of Commerce (NCC) as part of the implementation of the Nauru Private Sector Development Roadmap to establish the cross-sector Sustainable Tourism Working Group (STWG), made up of private sector, government and community representatives. The STWG has three initial focus areas: community engagement (especially young entrepreneurs), local inbound tour operator development and short-term accommodation development.}

The Nauru Business Hub, established by the Nauru Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and Australian Business Volunteers (ABV), plays a pivotal role in driving locally-led development and connecting Nauru's sustainable tourism sector. The Hub is led by Jennifer Harris, who works closely with Gem Dowiyogo, CEO of Nauru Tourism, Board member of NCC and part of the recently-established Sustainable Tourism Working Group (STWG). Gem shared some highlights from the first-ever Nauru Tourism Expo held in late June, which showcased local tour packages, travel partners, and local arts while fostering community engagement in shaping Nauru’s sustainable tourism sector.

The Expo featured performances from various cultural groups, such as the Dogoropa, Djidere, and traditional sports groups. The Naoero Museum and Heritage also joined the event, extending Expo activities for guests to explore. Community conversations about sustainable tourism practices emphasised the importance of recognising and promoting Nauru's unique culture while preserving authenticity.

The STWG played a crucial role in organising Nauru's first Tourism Expo. The STWG comprises representatives from Nauru Tourism, NCC, private sector, the community, government departments, and influential locals. One such local is the current Miss Nauru, Alex Pitcher, who recognises the importance of preserving Nauru's cultural heritage.

ABV’s Skilled Business Professional (SBP), Eve Moolenburgh, has worked with Jenn and the ABV team to engage Nauru tourism stakeholders to establish the STWG and facilitated workshops during April to develop their vision and focus areas. In Gem's words, Eve "lit the light of ideas" for the Sustainable Tourism Working Group. Their collective vision is:

“Tourism in Nauru will be a youth-led industry which is sustainable for the long term, driven by optimism and momentum, with services and capacity to support tourism delivering cultural experiences and projects, supporting the discovery of Nauru and providing land & sea adventures.”

In consultation with the Board of Nauru Tourism, STWG members are establishing a network of tour guides, primarily young people 18-30 years. This initiative aims to train young guides and emphasise the importance of preserving Nauru's cultural fabric. During Eve’s visits to Nauru in March and April, she and the STWG conducted information sessions to generate interest among individuals who wanted to learn about their culture. "We saw the need to train more people, and that's where we started the call out targeting unemployed young people," says Gem. The idea is to have the first group of certified guides train the next group, creating a sustainable knowledge transfer cycle. For those guides looking to establish a business, Jenn will work with ABV’s SBPs Liane Arno and Matt Stone to include them in a youth-focused support stream as part of the upcoming YES Startup program being delivered through the Nauru Business Hub.

John Short, a member of the STWG, is passionate about Nauru's future and ethically marketing its offerings. In addition to being a business owner, John established a life-saving surf club and during worldwide COVID lockdowns, organised a fundraising event where he live-streamed his paddleboarding journey around Nauru. Furthermore, he identified a shortage of bike rentals in Nauru, which prompted him to establish a mentor group supporting youth enterprise focused on bike rentals. John reached out to an Australian-based group that salvages and restores bikes from the waste stream and received donated bikes to kickstart the project. Through a selection process, identified young people will participate in youth-focused YES Startup training via the Business Hub and receive 12 months mentoring support through John’s YMGE network.

The passionate individuals and organisations involved in Nauru's budding tourism sector have already achieved positive results. There has been an increase in bookings with local tour guides, with large school groups now engaging. The initiative has received support from local ministers, highlighting the community's integral role in shaping and participating in the tourism experience.

Image Credit: Nauru Tourism Corporation

Presented by ABV and partners Newcrest & Nauru Chamber of Commerce

We are excited to share that our ABV team hosted a webinar about how business hubs support Pacific entrepreneurs to drive change. This session was an opportunity for our team to share stories from PNG and Nauru to showcase how locally-led business hubs are the key to sustainable business growth and development. 

This event focused on following key themes:

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to our team via the partnership enquiry page on our website.

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