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Morobe Beekeeper Alma Napo Wins The Grand Prize In The Lily Homemade Microbusiness Entrepreneur Competition

Alma Napo with her homemade honey, ginger and lemon cough drops. (Photo Supplied)

Monday, 22 April 2024

Congratulations to the 2023 winner of the Lily HOMEMADE Microbusiness Competition – Alma Napo, who wildly impressed judges with the all-natural cough drop medicine she developed from raw, rich and organic honey, ginger and lemons grown right on her doorstep in the Buang mountains (Morobe).

In second place is another entrepreneur making good use of an abundant crop in her home community of Kavieng (New Ireland) – the galip nut. Gracelyn Takiu has built a business around a range of beauty and skincare products she has developed that tap into the extraordinary health benefits of this magical little nut.

In third place is Alice Kolokolo in Port Moresby, who taught herself a new craft of clay earring making when she became a stay-at-home mum two years ago – surprising herself with how quickly her pretty floral creations, inspired by PNG flowers and embellished with coconut shell, caught on. She is now soon to open her first shop in POM's new Garden City SME Hub! All three inspirational women have had a long wait since being named the winners of their respective categories of Edible, Useful and Wearable at the judging event and mini-market day at Moore Printing in Port Moresby on November 17 last year.

But the overall winner, 2nd and 3rd placements were finally revealed at the launch of the new Lily Magazine (Issue 27) at Moore Printing today, enabling the three women to collect over K15,000 in cash prizes.

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Alma wins K10,500 (K4500 PNG-Australia Partnership; K3000 MiBank, K3000 Women's Micro Bank); Gracelyn K3000; and Alice K2000 (both from the PNG-Australia Partnership). Other prizes are already under way: three business websites with attached email addresses (value K24,000) from Media Partners; and setup expenses including business and trademark registration (value K4000) from Business Link Pacific.

Thanks also to supporting sponsors The Stanley Hotel for providing room nights to allow regional winners to attend the judging, and to PNG Air for providing return flights. But all15 finalists – five from each category, and chosen last year from about 300 entries – are winners. Each has been personally mentored and tutored in practical business startup skills from Pacifund trainers in the 30-day BizLaunch Challenge, with their K1000 courses plus K1000 in cash each for related expenses sponsored by the Australian Government through the PNGAus Partnership. The courses started on December 18, with the graduation and official launch of their businesses taking place at Port Moresby’s Gateway Hotel on February 14. In just a few short months, the transformation from home-based ‘side-hustle’ entrepreneurs to confident professional business founders was evident for all to see, from having shirts printed with official logos to producing business cards, creating product packaging with barcodes, having pop-up banners made, and beginning processes such as business registration and food safety certification.

From left, Margo Nugent (Lily editor), Tristan O’Brien (Australian High Commission PNG First Secretary – Economic, representing major sponsor the PNG-Aus Partnership), overall winner Alma Napo, Margaret Kega (representing overall runner-up Grace Takiu, who could not be at today’s ceremony), third placegetter Alice Kolokolo, Gunan Dash (Women’s Micro Bank CEO), Richard Baul (MiBank business development manager), and Adelle Auhava (Business Link Pacific) at the announcement and magazine launch ceremony at Moore Printing. Photo credit: Women’s Micro Bank. 

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