Papua New Guinea: With ABV mentoring Janet Yagur’s business goes from strength to strength

With family problems, and after losing her job as a real estate valuer, Janet Yagur and her son were sleeping on her brother’s living room floor.

“In Papua New Guinea family is very important, and if you don’t have that then you don’t have much support and have low status,” says Janet. “I’m a professional woman, but because of family problems I lost a lot.”

Although she had been laid off Janet had several contacts in the banking sector who knew she did her job very well. After a year with little income Janet started doing some freelance valuations work, and soon her tasks were building up.

“I got to be quite busy, so that I didn’t have time for my son,” says Janet. “Even so, I didn’t think of myself as running a business, more like working for bread and butter. I was spending nearly everything I earned.”

In late 2015 Janet attended the ‘YES (Your Enterprise Scheme) for Women’ program in Port Moresby, which ABV ran in partnership with the PNG Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. YES is an ABV model which sees two business volunteers mentoring and training groups of 15-20 small business owners in business basics over a month.

Nearly two years later Janet is adamant that the YES program has had profound impact on her operations and her life. “I’ve been empowered to a new level in person and business.” For Janet confidence in herself and her ability to run a business was one of the most important things she got from the program. “I’ve always worked under people,” she says. “The two business volunteers Sharon and Bea encouraged me to have confidence in my views, and speak up. I’m shy and reserved, and they really helped me come out of my shell.”

Another important new skill was book-keeping. According to Janet “before, I was making money, but I never had any records of what I was doing. This program opened my eyes. I realised I can save, I can invest, instead of just living on a daily basis.” Other important take-outs included an understanding of the importance of marketing, and time management.

Following what she learned during the YES Janet bought proper book keeping software. With this information Janet was able to get a loan and move out of her brother’s house. She was also able to take on an employee. These actions not only improved her efficiency, but have relieved pressures on Janet’s time. “Having someone else to help me means I have more time for my son”.

In just under two years Janet’s operation has, in her words, “gone from strength to strength”. She has more than doubled her income, and her earnings are so strong that she plans to pay off her new house within the year, and buy a larger one.

“I never thought that after doing the YES, things would be better for me and my son and even those around us,” says Janet. “I am lucky that I made it out of my situation.  I think my story and my business are encouraging for other women as well. I meet girls and women say ‘if I can do it, you can do it.’”

“I really appreciate what ABV and the women’s chamber have done for me. Because of the YES I have stepped up, stepped out and am stepping forward.”

Australian Business Volunteers