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PNG social entrepreneur recognised at University alumni awards

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Jessica Nelson
Published
2 October 2018

Papua New Guinean Vavine Nadesalingam, founder of the NGO Voices For Village Foundation Inc, has been named the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year at Southern Cross University’s annual Alumni of the Year Awards recognising exceptional achievement and outstanding service.

Papua New Guinean Vavine Nadesalingam, founder of the NGO Voices For Village Foundation Inc, has been named the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year at Southern Cross University’s annual Alumni of the Year Awards recognising exceptional achievement and outstanding service.

The Australian University, with campuses in Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast on the country’s east coast, welcomed home more than 50 global change makers to the high-anticipated Alumni of the Year Awards and the inaugural ‘Conversations that Matter’ alumni event where Ms Nadesalingam headlined an all-female panel discussing the empowerment of women globally.

As a social entrepreneur Ms Nadesalingam helps villages in rural areas of PNG access education, health, sanitation, clean water and electricity and technology through a network of supporters and business partners. She operates Organisation Emstret Holdings Limited, a local internet service provider in PNG focusing on giving access to rural schools and communities, advocates for youth empowerment and is the Ambassador for the China PNG Friendship Association.

Ms Nadesalingam is an elected Member on the Board of PNG Institute of Directors and Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and was famously the first female representative in PNG to be selected to represent her country at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016. At the New York summit she turned down offers from interest investors to help lead companies in the United States, so she could continue her work on the ground in PNG. She contested the 2017 national elections and finished in the top 10.

“When I found out I was a finalist in the Alumni of the Year Awards I was lost for words, and to be named Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year is a big statement which adds value and empowerment to the work of challenging the status quo and creating change in PNG. All I could think of was how grateful and thankful I am to the people who have played a part in my life, who have been there all along to support the work in PNG,” said Ms Nadesalingam, who lives in Port Moresby with her husband and two children.

“Southern Cross University gave me a platform to grab hold of many learning opportunities together with its partner institution in PNG, and I am humbled to receive this noble recognition which is something I can talk about with others to inspire them as well.”

Ms Nadesalingam grew up in a “wonderful supportive family” between her parents and grandparents’ villages with no electricity or running water, during high school she did her homework at night using kerosene lamps and dropped out after grade 10. She later started working at the Institute of Business Studies, now IBSUniversity, where she later became the first in my family to study, and later travelled overseas for the first time to complete her final year of business and accounting at the Coffs Harbour campus when Southern Cross University became a partner institution of IBS.

She said her main goal as a social entrepreneur was to give a voice and bring change into PNG’s communities that need it most.

“It was an honour to speak on the panel and raise awareness about the challenges that women face in PNG and how we need a level playing field to encourage more women in leadership as they play a great role in the development of a nation and in their communities. I want to share my story to inspire other young people who are facing challenges, to tell them they can always find a way to be a positive impact in their community as well.”

Southern Cross University offers a range of business courses at the Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Gold Coast campuses and online.


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