Considered by REAL

Vision for PNG’S Creative Industries

Marc Evans

REAL Impact believes it’s time Papua New Guinea chased a share of the global US$38 billion handicraft market, and the even larger potential of the global ‘creative industries’. The global artisan, fashion and homewares market generates trillions each year. Currently, PNG is not participating in this space in any meaningful way, and this presents a huge opportunity.

REAL Impact’s aim is to start tackling this market to provide export income earning opportunities for the millions of Papua New Guineans who can’t participate in the oil/gas and mining sector. The strategy is targeted to SMEs and the rural informal economies in PNG.


A Creative Arts and Culture Precinct designed to protect and promote the diverse artisan culture of PNG in a sophisticated way would catalyse this vision and make it a reality. It would provide an important commercial hub, focusing on the acceleration of SMEs such as Cathy Wariapa’s Cwakama Arts & Crafts and Thomas Toyamina’s Pacific Primitive Arts and showcasing what PNG has to offer, both domestically and internationally. Built in the early 1950s, ‘The Sheds’ on the old Coastal Wharf in the heart of Port Moresby would be an ideal location. Indications are that this space could be made available to kickstart this industry, as part of APEC’s legacy over the next 12 months, and discussions have begun. Securing a location that would be a makers and exhibition space, tourist destination and logistics hub is a high priority for the Creative Industry so that we can capitalise on the momentum already started. You only have to look around the world to see the economic success that precincts like this have initiated.


In the past 12 months, REAL Impact has been accelerating, with the support of the Australian government, creative industry SMEs across the Pacific. Using a holistic Minimum Viable Business (MVB) model, REAL Impact provides critical investment and management expertise to PNG SMEs to prepare them for early stage capital investment and assist the development of it’s informal economy. REAL Impact is building a multi-sided digital B2B/ B2C e-commerce platform that aggregates social impact brands designed to activate high impact value chains globally, and delivering social and sustainable economic development. Working with brands and individuals who bring purpose to what they do, REAL Impact achieves profit for purpose by leveraging creativity, commercial savvy, community engagement and connectivity to realise the potential of people, planet and profit. “We are transforming global value chains to bring benefits across the total end-to-end value chain from maker to consumer, and to our planet. Passion, purpose and motivation to succeed, coupled with exceptional artisan skills and a globally experienced management team enabled by a shared services platform, are key ingredients in our strategy for sustainability,” says REAL Impact founder and CEO Virginia Bruce. The REAL Impact Considered Accelerator process will see REAL Impact work collaboratively with selected SMEs, training them in all aspects of their business and social management. Success will be measured by new product lines, improved production and logistic processes, a clear understanding of production capacity and potential, training in business operations and exporting, financial literacy, and access to working capital and market.

REAL Impact’s approach for these small-batch producers is to position and market them in the

high-end designer space to showcase their master craftsmanship, and ensure they receive fair value for their cultural intellectual property (IP). REAL Impact’s holistic ecosystem model is designed to have cross-pollination effects for the whole PNG creative industry and industry innovation, which is expected to permeate at micro, meso and macro levels.


REAL Impact is looking for partners to develop this creative precinct, providing an important commercial and logistics hub and showcase that would incubate the PNG creative sector and accelerate SMEs in the heart of its capital city. Investment in a creative precinct would create a dynamic centre of innovation, contemporary design, promoting the diverse artisan culture of PNG as well as offering a shopping destination for cultural tourists. It would also engage young Papua New Guineans to learn about pathways available for them in this sector. From design, art, fashion, marketing, digital, logistics, REAL Impact’s MVB eco system opens up this world of possibilities.

 Globally, arts precincts have been successful in supporting locally generated arts enterprises

and creative businesses and more broadly across economic sectors including arts and culture, design and publishing, advertising, marketing and tourism related industries. The development of Beijing’s 798 Art Zone from decommissioned military factory buildings for example, catapulted the surrounding district’s popularity, attracting galleries, publishing firms, design companies, tailor shops, cafes and restaurants to set-up shop. The hub attracted 30 artists and organisations to occupy the studios and offices in the area, with 200 more on a waiting list.

REAL Impact is aiming to develop an independently PNG-managed creative precinct that will supply global markets with artisan homewares within 3 to5 years, and provide real opportunities for employment and access.

The space would be broadly designed as a commercial gallery space, showroom, photography

studio, warehouse storage space, SME shared workspace with tools and equipment, and tourist

destination, including a bar and café. The creation of an arts precinct would be an exciting move

forward for PNG. It would aim to provide a focal point and visual reminder to potential investors, as well as a practical and innovative centralised ‘home’ for creative SMEs to collaborate and transition their products from artisan craft to contemporary design, ready for international markets.