Smart young things: Papua New Guinea brightest minds at work [part 2]


Papua New Guinean entrepreneurs are challenging the status quo and seeking new opportunities to embrace change, give back to the community and help PNG’s economy thrive in the post-COVID world.

Tapioca Delight’s popular caramel cupcakes. Credit: Tapioca Delight

Ginia Sialis, 36, Cakes and catering, Port Moresby

papua new guinean entrepreneur

Tapioca Delight’s Ginia Sialis. Credit: Pixels Perspective and Mangilea Photography

Eight years ago, Ginia Sialis wondered what would happen if she ever lost her office job, so she set about starting up a part-time business.

She came up with the idea to sell tapioca cakes to her fellow workers during lunch hour. The cakes were a huge hit.

About 12 months later, when Sialis did lose her office job, her cake-loving customers stayed loyal and continued to order her little delicacies.

This gave her the motivation to set up a fully-fledged cake and catering business, Tapioca Delight, named after the first cakes she sold.

‘I’m so happy I set out to sell that first tapioca cake from my lunch box,’ she says.

Sialis runs the business with her husband and has 11 staff.

Story continues after advertisment...

She says an important philosophy of the business is helping community with employment opportunities.

‘We have a team of 11 staff who now have a full-time job thanks to our business. We want to do our part to bring Papua New Guineans out of poverty and into leading meaningful lives and improved standards of living for themselves and their families.’

With strong Christian values built into her business and personal life, she believes it’s what sets them apart. ‘My husband and I have gone back to our biblical roots to see what God’s word says about business, finance and life – and it’s all there! Not many people do this nowadays.

‘We’ve been in business since 2013 and can say we saw the biggest improvement in our lives and our business when we started making our faith walk, a 24/7 commitment rather than just a once-a-week Sunday church attendance.’

Nemika Brunton, 24, Jam entrepreneur, Alotau

papua new guinean entrepreneur

Yanua Kitchen’s Nemika Bruton. Credit: Pixels Perspective and Mangilea Photography

A childhood pastime has developed into a viable business for Nemika Brunton, who has created Yanua Kitchen, a thriving cottage industry that is making some of the best homestyle jam in PNG

As a small girl, Brunton picked up her jam-making skills from her grandfather and mother during family cooking time. ‘My mum always made star fruit jam, so I remember watching her in the village,’ Brunton says.

Yanua Kitchen specialises in homemade jams using  local seasonal fruits, including star fruit and pomelo (a large citrus fruit).

‘The pomelo jam is my personal favourite because it goes so well on toast or buns,’ Brunton says.

Brunton has been encouraged by online interest in her business and, with the support of her partner Sioni, is expanding to produce larger quantities to keep up with demand. The next step will be to export her jams, she says.

Amanda Tau Kanasa, 30, Fashionista, Port Moresby

papua new guinean entrepreneur

Pacificana’s Amanda Tau Kanasa. Credit: Pixels Perspective and Mangilea Photography

Amanda Tau Kanasa runs a fashion retail business called Pacificana, focusing her sales through online channels and through retail spaces such as POM City Markets.

Her slogan ‘look good, feel good’, has cemented her brand as one of the most well-known social media retailers in PNG.

Kanasa’s range of Pacific-themed clothing and accessories suits all ages and sizes.

Like many, she saw getting into business as a way of working in her own time and achieving financial freedom.

‘I love seeing people look good and feel good and I also love that through this I can show people that no matter how far they have gone in their education, there is always a way to achieve success. It’s not just about making money, it’s about making a difference in people’s lives.’

She prides herself on her work ethic and customer service, spending up to 16 hours a day working on her business, which she says also brings her lots of enjoyment.

‘I know one day all the hard work will pay off. If there is anything we focus on, it is making sure our customers know just how important they are to us.’

The article ‘Smart young things: Papua New Guinea’s brightest minds’ was first published in the September 2020 issue of PNG Now. See part one here.


  1. This phrase: “Papua New Guinean entrepreneurs are challenging the status quo and seeking new opportunities to embrace change, give back to the community and help PNG’s economy thrive in the post-COVID world”. is fitting for our female entrepreneurs with their businesses showcased. Well done and keep it up, all of you. More young Papua New Guineans, especially females will be challenged but at the same time encouraged by your efforts. God bless each of us, as we play our parts in whatever areas of the SME thus Taking Back PNG. COVID 19 can be seen as a blessing in disguise. It has caused us to think more outside the box in order to come up with creative, innovative and out-of-the-ordinary way of thinking on starting self start-ups. The utilization of all forms of internet-based social platforms to launch and market your product is encouraging, while sadly some are just using them for social gigs and recognitions. Its my hope that more Papua New Guineans go into self-start entrepreneurialism. Thus, we will create a very large middle class of SME owners of the means of production through which can be able to break the chains of poverty, inadequacy, hopelessness and despair. The days of complaining and waiting out for handouts from the government should be over now. Like these ladies posted, each one of us must try do something little depending on our capacity at where we are with what we have. God bless all Papua New Guineans.

  2. Peter Mawe says

    “Take back PNG” by putting all the government money into SMEs. It’s just as simple as that. China is sending Chinese to come here and take away PNG how? In business or economic invasion. They don’t bank with BSP.

Leave a Reply