Juel Debbarma's journey from the bustling banking sector in Maharashtra to becoming the pioneer of a cafeteria in her hometown of Agartala is nothing short of inspiring.
Having spent over 17 years in Pune, Juel nurtured a dream of opening her own cafe, a dream that seemed distant at the time due to financial constraints.
Juel, perhaps the first young indigenous lady who opened a cafeteria in Agartala, left her decent job in the banking sector in Maharashtra.
In 2021, Juel took a bold step by returning to Agartala, driven by her love and concern for her parents. Little did she know that this homecoming would be the catalyst for her dream to finally take shape. The year 2022 marked a significant milestone as Juel unveiled 'Kaffe Jo', a haven that echoed her passion for coffee and community.
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“The dream of opening a cafe was always there in my mind, but at that time I never thought I could afford it as I used to stay in Pune. I was planning to open a small cafe in Maharashtra and never had plans of shifting back to my hometown. In the year 2021, I shifted back to Agartala because of my parents and after coming here, I could see my dream coming true because I felt like I could open a cafe like here. I opened a cafe in February of 2022,” she told India Today NE.
Juel said that not a single person from her family is from a business background as all are government employees and it was a tough step for her.
She, however, relocated her cafeteria with a new look.
Opening a cafeteria, especially for a woman, posed unique obstacles in Tripura's competitive food industry. With more than a decade spent away from her roots, Juel had to start from scratch in building her network, as the landscape was predominantly dominated by male entrepreneurs.
“It was a struggle, but in this food industry, contacts are more important. For a woman, this market is challenging. For over a decade I have been in Maharashtra, so I had to build contacts from the beginning as men are running businesses completely here. Basically, it is an ongoing struggle for women in Tripura. I had to take a loan from the bank to open a cafeteria, and now I am successfully running it,” she told this publication.
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