Port Moresby to host world indigenous business forum

500 indigenous Papua New Guinea businesses will be in the spotlight this week, with the country hosting this year's World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF) in Port Moresby.

The annual event has been running since 2010, and serves as a platform where indigenous business leaders, entrepreneurs and advocates from around the world can come together to promote 'indigenous led economic development'.

Last year, the forum was hosted in Villavicencio, Colombia where 1,000 indigenous businesses from over 20 countries had the opportunity to network.

"By connecting without intermediaries, partnerships come together. Mutual business and investment opportunities can happen," WIBF's chief executive Rosa Walker said.

Walker founded the WIBF with the hope to provide crucial connection opportunities to isolated communities that are limited in reaching their economic potential for growth and create a network of indigenous businesses, laying a pathway for partnerships and investments amongst like-minded people.

At her side from the very beginning was Barb Hambleton, who is now the director of the WIBF.

"It's upon us as indigenous people to make our countries prosper."

She has watched the event grow from strength to strength over the past 14 years and seen an incredible network of indigenous entrepreneur's bloom in number.

"The World Indigenous Business Forum makes connections. The whole premise of our conference is to connect and to inspire."

There are over 800 languages and ethnic groups indigenous to Papua New Guinea and the Government hope to showcase the countries rich cultural heritage, resilience, and potential for economic growth in the region.

International delegates attending the three-day forum will have the chance to network with local entrepreneurs and government officials with opportunities to form business partnerships.

Participants are welcomed to share their journeys, challenges, and triumphs as indigenous entrepreneurs, and workshop how to harness their unique strengths together to create sustainable businesses.

Sustainability is a major focal point of this year's forum and the country will be highlighting the success stories of their own indigenous entrepreneurs who practice conservative and sustainable business practices.

The PNG Ministry of International Trade and Investment have been encouraging local business owners to apply and attend the prestigious event to form connections with other indigenous entrepreneurs.

International Trade and Investments vice-minister Kessy Sawang hopes to see indigenous trade routes re-established.

"Trade has been going on among indigenous people for thousands of years," Sawang said.

"When countries formed as countries we formed modern trade routes, but prior to that, indigenous people were already trading amongst themselves."

"The World Indigenous Business Forum encourages indigenous people to trade with indigenous people," she said.

A range of speakers have been selected including indigenous business owners, CEOs, directors and more from Papua New Guinea and abroad, to inspire attendees with their stories.

The forum is set to be held in Port Moresby from October 24-26 and the government is expecting up to a thousand indigenous businesses from all around the world to attend.