Overcoming SME challenges with Pacific Connect
As a mother of two boys (4 years old and 11 months old), it’s quite tough to juggle raising the kids and starting a business. I have days when I just feel like giving up, or days when I question myself if it’s really worth going through all the struggle. In a developing country like Papua New Guinea, there are many challenges that SME’s encounter. However, these challenges can be overcome with the right mindset and attitude.
Who would have thought I would cross paths with power-minded individuals, passionate about what they do?
The Pacific Connect Dialogue that was held at Airways Hotel in Port Moresby not only changed the way I saw my business but also connected me to amazing individuals willing to help me grow as a young businesswoman. This dialogue opened doors of challenging opportunities for my business to seize, and the best part was that I wasn’t alone on this journey.
The fear of failing and the fear of the unknown were just illusions that I had to overcome, and I did. I learned that I didn’t have to be an IT specialist to transform my ideas and move my business to the next stage. No! Everything I needed was within myself. The challenge was getting ME out there, to find out what I was capable of achieving. And through collaboration with the participants and facilitators, I realised that so much more can be achieved through unity and teamwork.
After losing my eldest sister, Debby, to cervical cancer in January 2019, I was prompted to encourage others to eat healthy, and live healthy lives in order to fulfil one’s purpose here on earth. So my other big sister and I started a door-to-door delivery of fresh fruits, fish and vegetables. We would buy from the local fish market or fresh produce market, have them packaged in trays and deliver according to the orders that came in. When she flew back to Cairns in February (where she resides with her children), I had no transport to continue my deliveries, and I could not afford to hire a vehicle.
My fresh produce and fish business was starting to feel the pinch of hardships. Some days I would have to get on public transport to deliver to my clients, other days I would sell the fresh produce in front of the house where we reside. Sometimes the babysitter wouldn’t turn up, so I’d have to stay home with the kids. What was I getting myself into? Some questions of doubt began to arise. I had to restrategise.
With the income from the house rent (which is another one of our businesses my partner and I manage to sustain our little family and also look into options of expansion into the real estate industry. Now, I had to take the next steps necessary to see this fresh produce and fish business through. So with everything I learned from the dialogue and the network I built, I reflected on the digital market place that I presented on and realised that this was the new direction for my business. It has sparked great interest and is a project that my team and I are working on. The future looks exciting and challenging but with God, all things are possible.
To conclude, I would like to extend many thanks to all the wonderful people I met at the Pacific Network Dialogue held in Port Moresby. You all have in one way or the other, enhanced my experience as an entrepreneur and I am now looking forward to another exciting dialogue to be held in Brisbane this month. Who knows where this will take my business ventures to? Worldwide perhaps. Let’s find out.
Shalom is an entrepreneur, a model and an aspiring fashion designer.