Image Credit: Alec Bruce-Mason

Image Credit: Alec Bruce-Mason

‘Profit for purpose’ company REAL Impact has today announced it is the recipient of a grant valued at $400,000 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s innovationXchange to create ethical and sustainable supply chains for the Creative Export Industry in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Virginia Bruce, CEO and founder of REAL Impact, says, “Papua New Guinea possesses significant cultural capital assets – traditional knowledge, skills and creative talents – and REAL Impact recognises this human and economic potential for PNG. Our vision is to create ethical and sustainable value chains by helping local PNG artisans create viable businesses with access to regional and global markets not previously possible. We are invested in the businesses succeeding to ensure genuine and sustainable benefits flow back through the local communities, and the grant is validation of our vision.”


REAL Impact utilises a holistic Minimum Viable Business (MVB) model, providing investment and management to PNG SMEs that meet minimum business requirements to prepare them for early stage capital investment and assist the development of its informal economy. Operating through a social impact lens, REAL Impact facilitates sustainable connections between the extraordinary artisan skills of informal economies and the global creative industries of fashion and interior design. 


REAL Impact is the intermediary for business investment into the SMEs as well as the Accelerator program that will establish a pathway into the global market for a minimum of three SMEs in the PNG creative sector with the development of a B2B and B2C e-commerce digital platform. The digital platform will create scale, awareness and a single location for businesses and consumers to source PNG artisan designer goods and SME artisan small batch production.


“Global statistics and socio economic trends demonstrate there is substantial growth in the demand for ethical and sustainable value chains, and designer authentic hand-crafted products and brands,” says Virginia Bruce. “REAL Impact has invested in and designed a systems-based approach to answer this market need and that of the Pacific based artisans who are looking for market access.


“Our approach is focused on inclusive social and economic impact; as such we are looking at the ‘culturalisation of commerce’ and not the ‘commercialisation of culture’,” Bruce adds.


The PNG SMEs struggle with market readiness due to a lack of commercial experience, being under-resourced, and a lack of access to markets, capital and logistics. With the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, along with Pacific Trade Invest Australia who has been a founding partner and supporter of this initiative from day one, Real Impact will establish a presence in PNG working with creative sector SMEs and their communities.  


The Accelerator process will see REAL Impact work collaboratively with the SMEs, training them in all aspects of their business and social management with success being 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, access to working capital and market access.


“We do not expect that in the first year, the SMEs will be self-sufficient, we are aiming to successfully have them undertake the leadership and hands-on mentoring of REAL so that they are production-ready, sustainable and market and investment-ready. Our approach for these small-batch producers is to position and market them in the high end designer market that showcases their master craftsmanship, and ensures they receive fair value for their cultural IP,” says Bruce.  


REAL Impact’s holistic eco-system model is designed to have cross-pollination effects for the PNG Creative Industry and industry innovation, which is expected to permeate at micro, meso and macro levels.


“We are transforming global value chains to bring benefits across the total end-to-end value chain –from maker to consumer and our planet. Passion, purpose and motivation to succeed coupled with exceptional artisan skills, a globally experienced management team enabled by the digital economy, are key ingredients in our strategy for sustainability,” Bruce says.


DFAT innovationXchange grants provide a foundation for social enterprises and non-government organisations to identify, test and scale high-impact innovations within the region to grow economies and create sustainable jobs that will lift people out of poverty.


The ‘Considered Acceleration’ project in Papua New Guinea is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s innovationXchange and implemented by REAL Impact.


For more information about REAL Impact contact:



PARTNERSHIPS                                                                                          MEDIA INQUIRIES

Virginia Bruce                                                                                             Jane Morey

CEO & Founder                                                                                          Director

Real Impact                                                                                                morey media                                                  E:

M:  +61 415 508 442                                                                                  M:  +61 416 097 678





REAL IMPACT is a  “profit for purpose” enterprise developing a viable creative industry across the Pacific by innovating global supply chain processes to include high impact small batch production, and leveraging this through an e-commerce B2B market place connecting global retailers through procurement contracts with the informal economy across the Pacific. To date REAL IMPACT has scoped and piloted in 4 countries: Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, PNG and Fiji. REAL Impact recognises the support of the its founding partner Pacific Trade Invest Australia.

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Marc Evans