The evening of Tuesday 14 May marked the start of a big week for PNG’s technology community with Techlab PNG hosting the first of three events over five days.
Forty-two women and men attended the Tech Community Meetup this month at Vision City Cinema in Port Moresby. "Participating in the technology SME community is how we are making our business better," said one attendee.
Dr Patrick Koliwan and David Valentine, founders of health-tech startup Refer Tech, shared the story of how they’re developing an electronic tuberculosis (TB) patient management system.
The Refer Tech founders’ key message was the value of purpose-driven startups and the opportunity provided by technology to address societal problems.
“If I knew what I know now about what we can do with technology, I would have focused my career on entrepreneurship and creating solutions to the problems we see,” said David Valentine.
“If we start with the most difficult things, the next ones are easier and we can fast-track them,” said Dr Koliwan.
The story of Refer Tech is especially relevant to SMEs in PNG as it represents a practical example of two people who identified an issue and are now working to solve it leveraging technology.
This message is timely with the Coral Sea Cable set to deliver reliable internet to the country. “What that means for businesses in PNG is you can begin seeing more reliable services,” said David Valentine.
While it’s crucial for businesses to be technology-enabled, attendees were encouraged to remain focused on the problem they’re solving. “Technology is important but equally if not more important is the business model behind it,” said Techlab PNG mentor Andy Barker.
Techlab PNG is hosting a workshop demonstrating how to build a mobile application for event management (16 May) and a seminar detailing how to develop and use a data dashboard (18 May). For more information and to register, please visit https://techlabpng.com/.
Techlab is an Australian Government funded pilot to support development of the local technology community.