When life gives you lemons… pivot your business model

A couple of months ago, we shared the Teddy Roosevelt quote “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.  We think Nemika’s story of adaptation in the face of the impacts of COVID-19, is such a great illustration of this.

 

Nemika Brunton is based in Alotau, Papua New Guinea.  We met her during the YuMi Tourism Partners Pilot program.  The program addressed starting small, testing and learning, and how to adapt and respond to market needs.  These lessons have certainly helped Nemika shift her business focus in response to COVID-19.

Tourism is a key industry for the town and many of the local businesses were tourism based.  So, the impact of COVID-19 hit the town hard.  Many locals – including Nemika – have adapted quickly to totally new businesses and customers.

“When COVID hit, I was working with my partner in his tourism business – coordinating and admin.  When cruise ships and tourists stopped coming, we were hit financially.

I am lucky enough to have the blessing of the internet at home, so I went online to see what I can do to make money and support my family.  That’s when I found jam making.  I thought – this used to be a tradition with my family, I used to make it with my grandparents and my mum – maybe I could do this.

pomelo jam

Yanua Kitchen Pomelo Jam for sale in Alotau

I started by making four jars.  I went to the markets and got whatever was in season – Pomelos were in season, so I started with that.  I gave some to my family and they said it was really good and suggested that I should sell it.  So, I put four jars up on Facebook and they sold quickly!  The person who bought them also shared the jams with other Facebook groups and demand started to grow.”

Since then, Nemika has built her brand Yanua Kitchen (Yanua meaning home or village in her Suau language), she has started to source Pomelos directly from nearby farmers, and trialled making starfruit jam and peanut butter.  It’s been important to Nemika to source locally-grown and in season produce and she’s done everything out of her home so far: making the jam from her kitchen, googling how to do everything from sterilising jars, to packaging and branding.  She’s even been taking the seeds from the Pomelo, growing them into seedlings and giving them away with every jar of jam she sells.

 

prime minister Marape- Yanua

PNG Prime Minister, James Marape, checking out Yanua Kitchen jam

Demand has grown beyond Alotau, to Port Moresby and other parts of the country with cafes and shops wanting to stock it.  Next thing Nemika knew, the PNG SME magazine contacted her wanting 300 jars for the PNG SME business breakfast in Port Moresby, with the Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape!

“I will definitely continue making jams after COVID. I love doing it and demand keeps growing.”

The next steps for Yanua Kitchen is to get equipment, a commercial kitchen facility, and source a continual supply of jars.  Ultimately, Nemika would love to be able to employee others in her business as well.

For us, Nemika embodies a great example of the entrepreneurial mindset:

  • She pivoted quickly in the face of changes to the market
  • She started small – with what she had, where she was
  • She has been testing, learning and iterating with her brand and products
  • She’s responsibly seeking investment only after she has proved market demand

And for that, Nemika, we hope your success is sweet… like jam.

Spread the love

Social Enterprise Christmas Marketplace

If you are looking for a holiday gift with a purpose, we’ve created a marketplace so that you can #shopsocialenterprise this year. 

Two Feet Accelerator: Where are they now? Refugee Talent

TDi has been committed to inclusive sustainable businesses since the early days of the social enterprise movement in Australia. We’ve proudly partnered with NAB in a number of ways, one of which was the Two Feet Accelerator programs. These were designed as part of a...

It takes a village to grow an inclusive sustainable business

TDi has been committed to inclusive sustainable businesses since the early days of the social enterprise movement in Australia.

Two Feet Accelerator: Where are they now? YEVU

This week we’ve been chatting with Anna Robertson from YEVU – a social enterprise clothing brand designed and manufactured in Ghana.

YuMi Tourism Partners (Alotau) – Milne Bay Organics

“Coconut has been incredibly embedded in the Milne Bay tradition – from the food consumption through to the traditional dancing.” Last year, the YuMi pilot program took us to Alotau in Papua New Guinea, where we worked with difference maker, Rhona.

Indigenous tourism is key to economic recovery

Long-time friend, and associate of TDi, Ash Bartley has just started a new role with Visit Victoria.  We caught up with her recently to celebrate her new role and ask about the opportunity for Indigenous tourism in Australia’s economic recovery.

YuMi Tourism Partners (Alotau) – VilLink Tours & Expeditions PNG

“With what I’m doing, I want to encourage the other young women out there, that they can also have the chance to make a difference.  Not only in earning money, but sharing what they know, and getting other communities involved.”

Flexible and responsive coaching is key to sustaining women’s economic empowerment during a crisis

While each business owner faces their own set of challenges in response to the uncertainty and upheaval of COVID-19, we are observing a series of consistent coaching requirements emerge.

When life gives you lemons… pivot your business model

Nemika Brunton is based in Alotau, Papua New Guinea.  We met her during the YuMi Tourism Partners Pilot program.  The program addressed starting small, testing and learning, and how to adapt and respond to market needs.  These lessons have certainly helped Nemika shift her business focus in response to COVID-19. Tourism is a key industry for the town and many of the local businesses were tourism based.  So, the impact of COVID-19 hit the town hard.  Many locals – including Nemika – have adapted quickly to totally new businesses and customers.

Supporting Social Enterprise during COVID-19

Following a tumultuous year of bushfires, COVID-19 and recent floods in Southern NSW, lots of small businesses and the families and communities they serve, are doing it tough.  One way we’ve seen people showing their support for these local businesses is through the #shoplocal #shopvictoria and #buyfromthebush movements.  We’ve been inspired by this and wanted to share a #shopsocialenterprise guide based on some of the businesses we’ve been working with over the last 18 months.