Dreaming big is one of the many ideas that women entrepreneurs from around the Pacific region meeting in Nadi this week have been talking about during the conference.
A business woman that has taken this idea to a different level is Ruth Undi from Papua New Guinea’s resource rich area of Ialibu in the Southern Highlands.
Undi, 42 likes to call herself a ‘grassroot’ mother and yet she is the first Papua New Guinean woman to own and operate an aviation company, Niugini Aviation, with a fleet of three planes.
With no aviation background, Undi bought her first plane in 2011 because she saw the need to service the remote areas that are not accessible by road.
“That’s when I bought my first 206 six seater aircraft from the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The plane was used to transport medical supplies to remote areas. Mining companies also hire the plane for private charters, Undi told PACNEWS at the Sheraton Resort in Nadi where she is attending the regional Women In Business Conference this week.
“As the demand grew, I approached a contact in New Zealand and bought two more aircraft.
The mother of four doesn’t want to be branded as a ‘trail blazer’ for women in the aviation industry. She said ‘she is not there yet.”
Undi attributes her success to a supporting husband and employees.
“When you employ the right people and properly compensate them, they will perform to the best of their ability. My husband has always been there for me when I was taking the risks, said Undi.
She has bigger plans for the future – one of which is the upgrade of her fleet to 19-seater twin otters to service other parts of Papua New Guinea. This will mean the upgrade of the airline’s operating license, which was approved in 2013.
Undi also owns a construction company, Kana Construction in Port Moresby, while her husband Ron operates and insurance company.
When pressed about the value of her company, Undi did not want to divulge that information.
Attending the Women In Business conference in Nadi was her first ever direct engagement with other business women from around the region.
“I am here to meet, learn and network with other sisters from the Pacific. It makes me feel good to see that I am not alone and that there are other potential business women facing similar challenges in other parts of the Pacific.
“For me, the sky is the limit. I will tell my story once I have achieved everything that I have dreamt, said Undi.