Women entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea (PNG) face many complex challenges in setting up and growing their businesses due to various barriers such as gender inequality, lack of access to finance, and societal challenges such as poverty and illiteracy. Under the economic pressures of COVID-19 in particular, women entrepreneurs in PNG have faced dire threats to the survival of their businesses. In July 2020, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) released a survey report, “COVID-19’s Arrival in PNG: Impacts on Women-Owned and -Operated MSMEs,” which examined the impact of the global pandemic on 298 women entrepreneurs and their businesses. The survey findings revealed that the pandemic has not only altered the business environment of PNG but has amplified acute difficulties faced by women-owned and –operated businesses.
To better understand the environment under which these businesses are continuing to operate almost exactly one year following the release of the aforementioned survey report, CIPE commissioned this assessment to examine the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on 144 women-operated or -owned Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in PNG. There are statistical limitations in comparing the findings of both reports, and instead this report should be seen as a snapshot of the current conditions women face in PNG. Survey respondents are participants of CIPE’s women’s empowerment programming in PNG, such as the Women’s Business Resource Centre (WBRC), an information and resource hub for women in entrepreneurship. A mixed method survey comprised of telephone calls and e-mail communication was conducted by CIPE’s PNG field office staff over the course of three weeks between June and July 2021. Questions aimed to collect indicators of the global pandemic’s impact on women-operated and -owned MSMEs in PNG.
Findings are meant to add to the existing research and understanding that is currently available to better provide targeted assistance for PNG women entrepreneurs. CIPE’s continuing efforts to better understand the circumstances of women entrepreneurs in PNG are meant to ensure that support programs and policy development lead to inclusive growth and a more prosperous PNG.