A roadside bakery at Mabuli opened earlier this year has proved to be a runaway success, catering for up to 100 customers per day and providing financial security for a number of local families.
The brainchild of local woman Juguli Kapiago, the bakery was born out of Juguli's constant quest to help local women take control of their own lives.
A well-known local midwife, who also offers her home as a refuge for abused women, Juguli is determined to help local women build their capacity and advance their lives.
She credits her success in business to the skills training that she has received courtesy of ExxonMobil PNG Limited (EMPNG), operator of the PNG LNG Project – all starting with a sewing course in 2012 which aimed to increase skills and promote income-generating activities.
EMPNG recognised Juguli's contribution to society and has subsequently supported her through a variety of additional professional development including: a baking and nutrition training program, an agricultural and livestock support grant and as a participant in the exclusive Global Women in Management program in 2014.
"When I began this training all those years ago, I didn’t realise the importance of having my own business," says Juguli.
"I wanted to create something that other women could benefit from and we decided to start a bakery, putting into practice all the skills we had gained."
Juguli set up a kitchen and customer seating area inside a container, using sheets of corrugated iron and two drum ovens provided by EMPNG.
She connected with other women to ensure freshly baked goods would be provided on a regular basis—guaranteeing a fully stocked bakery seven days a week.
"We have about 100 customers per day and things are going well."
Juguli says the next step is to continue growing the business by including local men.
"Now that we have money in our bilums, we need to start teaching the men – they should also be involved and we want to give them the opportunity to bake, sweat and earn their own living."