Belinda Bakani, hailing from Milne Bay and Central provinces, operates Classic Auto Services Ltd. alongside her partner from their residence in Korobosea, Port Moresby.
In 2021, after working at PNG Ports Corporation for 10 years, Belinda developed a keen interest in the automotive industry, although it wasn’t part of her initial plan. Initially resigning to pursue a career change, she decided to work with her partner while awaiting responses to job applications. Belinda took on a management role in the business her partner had established two years earlier.
Her responsibilities within the business primarily revolve around administration, finance, customer service, and marketing, while her partner handles the technical aspects with the assistance of other employees.
Belinda first learned about the online trainings offered by CEFI through her sister-in-law, Susan Bakani, who had also benefited from them. Upon discovering that Belinda had left her job to run the business with her partner, Susan advised her to get in touch with CEFI. Susan informed Belinda about the various training programs provided by CEFI to support women in the SME sector, enabling them to enhance and expand their businesses. Recognizing her relative newness to the business sector, Belinda found the motivation to register for and attend CEFI’s online training sessions in 2021.
Before participating in CEFI’s online trainings, Belinda had previously received training focused solely on Customer Care Services during her educational pursuits.
In July 2021, Belinda was among the 45 women in SMEs who attended the LedgerPal Training. The online training comprised three modules: Digital Financial Literacy, Business Planning & Debt Management, and E-Commerce. After completing the training, Belinda observed significant improvements in various areas:
- Saving and reducing expenses by making informed spending decisions.
- Enhancing budgeting skills through improved calculations and financial management.
- Better business and financial management, expanding her knowledge in this domain.
- Advancing marketing skills.
- Learning from shared experiences with other WSMEs, exchanging challenges and ideas and establishing a network with like-minded individuals.
Belinda expresses gratitude for the opportunity to learn more about e-commerce. The training greatly aided her marketing and branding efforts for Classic Auto Services Ltd. She particularly utilized the Canva App, which was introduced during the training, to create a flyer to advertise for auto mechanics. This led to the successful recruitment of two young employees. At the end of 2021, Belinda utilized the same application to create a flyer offering a 10% discount on services, resulting in over 20 clients bringing their vehicles to her for servicing. The e-commerce training played a crucial role in her marketing activities as a beginner.
Belinda encourages young WSMEs, as well as existing ones, to attend the training programs offered by CEFI.
Building on her existing Certificate in General Business Administration, she took on secretarial duties for the business. Over time, she recognized the significant role she played in supporting Classic Auto Services Ltd and decided to focus her efforts accordingly. The online training programs conducted by CEFI provided valuable opportunities for Belinda to acquire skills that she could directly apply in the business.
At present, the business is thriving, thanks to Belinda’s enhanced marketing skills, which have expanded Classic Auto Services Ltd’s marketing reach. She now sends out at least 20 quotations and invoices to clients on a weekly basis. The e-commerce training has played a pivotal role in elevating their business’s visibility and public presence.