NEWS

Flower Power Turns The Profit Tide

When Mereseini Tabua- kasese first moved to Suva, she did not expect to end up living in an informal settlement. The Viria Village, Naitasiri, native was told moving to the
26 Jan 2018 11:08
Flower Power Turns The Profit Tide
Mereseini Tabuakasese shows a sample of floral art that is part of her business. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

When Mereseini Tabua- kasese first moved to Suva, she did not expect to end up living in an informal settlement.

The Viria Village, Naitasiri, native was told moving to the capital city would mean an automatic upturn in her fortunes.

She later discovered she did not like the city life very much and moved to Namena Village in Tailevu.

It is in this lush village 10 years ago that her business idea materialised. Surrounded by an environment beautified with tropical flowers, Ms Tabuakasese saw an opportunity.

Her husband, who left his job as a salesman in Suva, assisted her with planting flowers they planned to sell at the Suva Market.

In 2015, she became a recipient of the Government Micro and Small Business Grant (MSBG). The $1000 grant was used to buy a wheel barrow and other garden tools.

With the new tools, her husband could look after the planting part on his own, freeing up Ms Tabuakasese to focus on selling the flowers.

“I travel to Suva from Thursday to Saturday every week to sell at the market,” she said.

“The responsibility of selling the flowers and looking after the funding falls on my shoulders. In a way, you can say I am my husband’s manager.”

From the income she has managed to save, the 52-year-old is now planning an expansion of her business.

“My husband and I have decided to plant other crops such as cucumber and watermelon and sell it at the market,” she said.

“It’s a big change from how we were two years ago when Cyclone Winston hit and damaged our house and land.”

She said the best thing about the grant was that it did not require recipients to pay back the money.

On a personal level, she said it facilitated the rapid growth of her business.

“I think it would have taken me one year to pay it all back if it was a loan but instead I was able to grow my business,” she said.

“Today, if I am lucky I make close to $150-$200 and for that very reason I encourage the women around me to apply because I think we can do a better job than men in business.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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