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APTC Publishes Success Entrepreneur Stories

APTC Publishes Success Entrepreneur Stories
From left: the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, Australian Pacific Technical College (APTC) chief executive officer Denise O’Brien and Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa during the launch of the publication on May 2, 2018 at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. Photo: APTC.
May 05
11:05 2018

The Australian-Pacific Techni­cal College provided the op­portunity to a group of women owning small businesses in Fiji to learn entrepreneurship skills and take their business to the next level.

The ‘New Small Business Pro­gramme’ for women entrepreneurs was designed by APTC to develop business management skills to en­able them to operate their businesses more successfully. Training in the college took place between April and November last year whereby group of women entrepreneurs successfully graduated from the programme.

The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes ,joined APTC in launching a publication titled ‘Impact Stories’ that told the stories of many of their successful graduates.

Shabreen Nisha

One successful graduate of the pro­gramme, Shabreen Nisha, 32, is a thriving entrepreneur and director of Lil Champs Pre-school and Daycare Centre in Nadi.

Ms Nisha graduated from APTC with a Diploma in Children’s Services in 2014 and has been operating the day care centre for over three years.

Three years after graduating, she returned to the college as part of a group of women entrepreneurs who undertook the entrepreneurship pro­gramme. Ms Nisha said that every­thing she learned during her training has vastly improved her business per­formance.

“The training has helped me better organise my tax returns and finance, and also provided ideas on how can I improve my business through im­proved marketing collateral and so­cial media,” Ms Nisha said.

“Through APTC, from nothing, I be­came a teacher and now own a busi­ness caring for young children and I also managed to establish a not-for-profit organisation for children called Champ on Wheels,” she said.

Ms Nisha has started to use Face­book to promote her business to po­tential clients and the response so far has been positive, she said.

She also has eight people working for her, who are a combination of gradu­ates and practicum students also trained at the APTC, she said.

One of the strategies she implement­ed after completing her programme was to introduce feedback surveys for parents, who have children attending the day care centre.

She said the feedback from the sur­veys has helped her address areas in her busiess that need improvement.

Now Ms Nisha is planning to expand her business to accommodate more children and also create more employ­ment in the process.

Vani Duguci

Another programme graduate, 39-year-old Vani Duguci, is a micro-entrepreneur who sells fish at the Suva and Navua markets.

Ms Duguci said she participated in APTC’s training programme to broaden her knowledge about the various aspects of running a busi­ness.She also received mentoring from the APTC’s partner in the pro­gramme, the Australia Business Vol­unteers, who she said assisted her with monitoring cash flow, keeping proper records and understanding taxation laws. Ms Duguci also gained knowledge on how to create water­proof price tags for her fish to attract customers and she has started to wear proper clothing, such as aprons, when handling the fish.

“My business has grown because of the knowledge and skills I gained from the training,” she said.

“Customers can just come and see the price tag already on the fish and in at the Suva fish market you cannot find that in any place.”She believes her training has helped her double her profit margins.

One of the challenges she faced is the lack of supply but to overcome the problem, she and her husband have successfully secured a loan to purchase a vehicle that will help them pick up fish from their suppliers, she said.

To obtain that loan, she learned to write her own business summary and submit it with her business plan and cash flow records compared before she normally had somebody to write on her behalf.

Feedback: maria.laqeta@fijisun.com.fj

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