From a humble beginning in a single parent’s home to owner of a thriving business, we celebrate the remarkable story of Amanda Kanasa on the day of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

Amanda is known for her Port Moresby-based local SME, branded Pacificana, that designs and sells fashion products ranging from hair flowers and coconut earrings to dresses and bags sold throughout the Pacific and now in Cairns, Australia.

Originating from Baluan Island in Manus and Gabagaba village in the Central Province, Amanda was raised by her mum in Port Moresby.

Pacificana locally hand-made earrings.

“As I grew up with my mum, watching her work twice as hard to feed and educate me enhanced my desire to be my own boss and run my own business. I started this habit by baking and selling during school holidays to make my lunch money. The school fees were a challenge for my mum, seeing me through high school and university, but we have faith in God and He came through for us in the end,” she says.

All the hard work paid off, as Amanda obtained a Bachelor of Accounting and became a Certified Practicing Accountant.

While working for one of the four big accounting firms in PNG, Amanda took another leap of faith, left her job and ventured into the world of SMEs.

“I met my then boyfriend, now-husband, who is just as business-minded as I am, and that gave me the confidence to take that leap of faith to start a business. Starting Pacificana was just the first step towards achieving my goals,” Amanda proudly says.

“The greatest risk I took was resigning from my full-time job. I left a fortnightly regular income to only make income whenever I sold an item. There were days where I did not make a sale, and money was very tight. But I am grateful for my husband and mother, who supported me through those very tough days.”

Chasing her goals, Amanda obtained a Certificate IV in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation through an Australia Awards Scholarship. She says, “My time studying at the University of Sunshine Coast was one of the best things I did for my business. Apart from all the skills I gained, the biggest thing I took away from my studies was understanding the reason for doing business.”

Ragu Tau at Pacificana stall.

Amanda is now reaping the benefits of her efforts while providing employment opportunities for others. The Pacificana brand has gained many loyal customers and a large social media following.

In addition to her business achievements, Amanda has used her brand and customer base to register a new business known as Pacificana Consultancy, where she uses her accounting knowledge to help formalise small businesses and run training to help business owners understand their tax and statutory obligations. She is on the road to becoming a tax agent.

Now operating in a small office space, Amanda is optimistic that in the next five years, Pacificana will have a bigger office space, employ more staff, and manufacture products locally.