Meet Mrs. Elizabeth Tandapi, an informal table market woman developed into a businesswoman through Women’s Micro Bank.

“The dream that I had since day one is a dream come true today, from table market to trade store, taxi service and rental property.” Testified Elizabeth Tandapi, one of the pioneer customers of Women’s Micro Bank.

Hailing from Enga Province, Elizabeth Tandapi is one of the pioneers of WMB. Her dream was to become a businesswoman when she joined Women in Business Foundation (WIBF) in 2009 inspired by the charismatic lady Late Janet Sape. At that time Elizabeth was doing informal table market in Port Moresby to support her family. Using a small 100 cm by 100 cm table, she was selling dough nuts, ice blocks to sustain her livelihood. From the little earnings, she budgeted for her family’s food and did her savings with WIB with a dream to become a successful businesswoman. Elizabeth was one of the first customers (19th Customer, Meri Moni Savings Account number 00019) to open bank account with WMB after attaining the license from BPNG in May 2014.

Following the legacy of Late Ms. Janet Sape, Elizabeth stood firm, committed and worked hard towards achieving her dream. In 2014, Elizabeth’s savings was more than K10, 000 in her savings account when she obtained her first loan of K10, 000 in August 2014. Valuing the savings culture she hesitate to withdraw her money and obtained a loan which she used and built a trade store and migrated from table market to trade store by selling all grocery items. Elizabeth’s motivation began to rise and she envisioned how she will develop her entrepreneurial ambitions. With that motivation, Elizabeth repaid her loan accordingly as per the loan repayment schedule without any defaults. During the tenure of WIB, she has already got three small loans to support her table market so had the knowhow of loan repayments.

“It was my dream to become a businesswoman and to become equal with men given the challenges we womenfolk in PNG face daily as men tend to consider us as inferiors even though we contribute a lot in the family. So I want to break that cultural barrier and be equal with men by becoming a successful businesswoman,” said emotional Elizabeth. She explained that just after one year from the first loan of K10, 000, she used part of the proceeds to purchase a second-hand taxi to run a taxi service in Port Moresby.

On March 2016, Elizabeth obtained her second loan of K25, 000 with an ambition to scale up her business, which she ventured into building a five (5) bedroom rental house. She said that she haven’t been to any formal education or business courses, however, with the Financial Literacy Trainings and Business Development Skills Training that she obtained from WMB, she is able to manage and run her business. She paid off the loan within schedule time and doing savings regularly to obtain a bigger loan upscale and diversify her business. Elizabeth is now running a trade store, a taxi, rental house and recently she purchased a land. Elizabeth’s plan is to upscale her trade store into a mini shop, build two (2) more rental houses and build a proper parking bay for her taxi and purchase one more. During covid-19 lockdown period she took a small loan of K2, 000 to support her business cash flow and has confessed the importance of savings culture that embeds WMB’s business philosophy as experienced now where all the women are happily using their savings money during this covid-19 lockdown period. Elizabeth plan to take up another loan when the Covid-19 situation improves so she can continue on with building up her business. When asked what would be her best advice to other women, smiling Elizabeth said “Simple, start small, have a goal, work hard, seek fund support from our own Bank, honor your commitment, stick to one bank who can be in your help at any time and rest will follow suit. Like me, “from table market to trade store, taxi service and now rental property.”