At TDi 2019 was another amazing year. Again, we’ve had the privilege of helping Difference Makers from Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Australia. We’ve helped entrepreneurs build out their ideas and business models. We’ve worked with NFPs to explore new revenue streams and forge new pathways of doing business. We’ve had interesting and important conversations with our corporate and government partners.
It’s interesting because most people assume our work is about numbers and spreadsheets, marketing plans and slogans. But our work goes much deeper than that – it’s the human stories of struggle and triumph, of resilience and adapting that make our work what it is. All our team would say that our work moves and changes us, and we are inspired by the grit, determination and sacrifice of the amazing people we get to work with.
On a personal note, our TDi team has grown, we’ve had babies born, and we’ve also been working behind the scenes on some special, fun stuff that will help us better tell our own story. Watch this space early next year you’ll see a new chapter in TDi’s life released!
Our favourite projects of 2019
At a time of year that invites reflection, our team looks back on the projects that have been meaningful, heart-warming, fun, adventurous, challenging, exciting and special…
It’s just got to be “Accelerate with IBA” for me! Together with Indigenous Business Australia we run an accelerator for Indigenous Social Entrepreneurs. I love the passion and commitment these entrepreneurs bring to their enterprises and their resilience and hope. It is such a joy to be part of a room of people who care about and make time for genuine relationships. We laugh together and cry together and long after the formal journey has finished, we still cheer each other on. Through this work I see a shared future for Australia that I can be proud of.
My favourites have been the Guria Accelerator – an outstanding group of brave businesswomen (PNG-Australia Partnership and Women’s Business Resource Centre in PNG); the Laikim Sister program, for opening my eyes and heart to a sisterhood I never knew I could call my own (PNG-Australia Partnership); and finally, our work with the team at Essence of Fiji who create belonging and opportunity for so many women in Fiji.
This year I have been blessed to meet and work with some amazing entrepreneurs in PNG as we launched the Alotau and Rabaul ports for the YuMi Tourism Partners program – a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (including PNG-Australia Partnership) and Carnival Australia. We are there to help them, but I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from them and am all the richer for that experience. I feel that PNG has become a second home to me, and I love sharing this with people who perhaps aren’t quite as informed on the beauty that PNG has.
My favourite project this year is the Guria Accelerator (through PNG-Australia Partnership and Women’s Business Resource Centre in PNG) – twelve incredible entrepreneurs in Port Moresby. Guria means “Earthquake” or “Shake-Up”, and it’s living up to its name. These business owners are working together to double their sales and double their revenues, without doubling their workloads. The energy and spirit of the cohort is remarkable, we will have a lot of great stories to share at our Showcase in March in Port Moresby.
My favourite project this year was Laikim Sister which has been supported by the Australian Government under PNG-Australia Partnership. Laikim is an exchange between Papua New Guinean businesswomen and Indigenous Australian businesswomen. This project brings together so many of the big themes in my life into one place – themes of female entrepreneurship, themes of overcoming, themes of exclusion and social justice. It was a humbling experience and privilege to have been able to facilitate this program. The stories of these women which have begun to be told publicly have etched a place in my spirit. It has and will continue to change me.
My favourite project this year was our work in Goroka in partnership with the Australian Government under PNG-Australia Partnership and Pacific Trade Invest, understanding the bilum supply chain. It combines two of my greatest loves: strategy and storytelling. We got the rare opportunity to understand the mechanics of a growing export industry working with key players all along the supply chain to shape its growth. Bilum has many stories to tell: that of the art form, of the weavers, of its history and place in PNG’s culture and I enjoyed learning about them.
I’ve had the privilege of working with the Porgera District Women’s Association to help build out a sustainable social enterprise model. For me personally, Porgera is one of the most challenging environments I have worked in and at the same time one of the most welcoming and rewarding. The women we worked with are strong, inspiring, and warm-hearted. I feel privileged to have been invited into this world and look forward to a lasting relationship with our new “family”.
My favourite TDi project this year has been Yumi Tourism Partners in Rabaul, PNG, in partnership with the PNG-Australia Partnership and Carnival Australia. As somebody who usually works ‘behind the scenes’ I loved getting out on the front line and seeing TDi in action. It was a fabulous experience, seeing the amazing towns and people of Rabaul and Kokopo and getting a glimpse in to their fascinating history, who they are and what they have to share with the rest of the world. We spent time talking with tour operators, local businesses and politicians and I could see how TDi is really helping be a conduit to connect them to opportunities that they have hungered for for years, but not known where to start or how to go about it.