By GLORIA BAUAI
MOTHER-of-four Bogel Kaupa used to bake scones at home just for her family’s breakfast. Now she owns and runs a popular eatery at Top Town in Lae selling not only scones but also other food items.
Bogel, 47, is helped by husband Brasty, 58, who left his job with a company in 2013 to help develop her small baking business.
In February this year, the couple opened the BMT café at Top Town. It is one of the locally-owned eatery businesses in the area, and they want to show others that they can up the ante as far as the quality of meals is concerned.
The BMT café opens six days a week from 6am to 9pm, offering a variety of food and beverages including fresh fruit juice and freshly cooked vegetables.
It has quickly become a popular dining spot for locals and expatriates.
“I see foreigners operating food outlets in very unsanitary and unhygienic conditions, with little concern given to customers who are Papua New Guineans.”
Bogel took that as a challenge.
“Now many foreigners are coming here to inquire who owns it. They are surprised when told it is PNG-owned.
“And I am happy, especially when I see expats walk into the café to enjoy a cup of coffee or a plate of vegetables.”
“ The secret to success is to never give up. When faced with challenges, I remind myself that my future is in my hands, and it pushed me.”
Bogel only managed to reach Grade Six at school in 1988. After spending a year at home in Mt Hagen, she decided to further her education through a vocational school.
So she learnt the basics of baking, sewing and house-keeping at the Rebiamol Vocational School in 1990.
But she put everything on hold when she got married and started a family. She now has four children.
“I would bake scones for my children’s breakfast or for them to take to school. Our neighbors asked if I could bake extra for them to buy.”
Word quickly got around and the demand for her scones increased.
Husband Brasty who was working with a company saw the potential to expand the business and resigned from his job in 2013 to support his wife.
They moved to Awagasi where they bought a shed and built a mini-bakery. With the assistance of the National Development Bank’s Women in Business scheme, their family business Blue Mountain Trading (BMT) grew.
By 2015, they bought an electric oven and mixer. They supplied scones to Laga Industries, Igam Barracks, University of Technology, Gavman Compound and 10-Mile.
With her husband’s help, Bogel is focusing on her plan to expand. BMT began general catering services for corporate clients.
BMT also offers a tailoring service to two major corporate clients.
The company employs 23 people and offers on-the-job training to garment and cookery students from the St Joseph’s Technical School.
Brasty is encouraging more PNG people to venture into the baking and catering business.
“When locals don’t use the businesses reserved for us, we allow foreigners to take over.”
He is proud of his wife and is supporting her all the way.
“I am proud of my wife for persevering and through each other’s support and motivation, we have come this far.”
Bogel is determined to go further.
“The secret to success is to never give up. When faced with challenges, I remind myself that my future is in my hands, and it has pushed me.”