Lifestyle

Humbling Experience To Double Up As Parent And As Micro-Entrepreneur

Loata Takape Senibale acknowledged SPBD and its staff for their continuous financial support that has empowered low-income and disadvantaged women.
19 Feb 2019 15:28
Humbling Experience To Double Up As Parent And As Micro-Entrepreneur
Loata Senibale inside her canteen.

Playing both parental roles at once is a challenge that not all parents can successfully handle.

However, for micro-entrepreneur Loata Takape Senibale of Namal­ata Village, Lomaloma, Vanuaba­lavu in Lau, it has been a humbling experience acting as both a father and mother to her 10-year old son.

Ms Senibale, one of the five final­ists for the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Fiji Busi­ness woman of the Year award, has been a member of SPBD Tamavua-i-wai Centre One since 2011.

Being a role model

Being a businesswoman and play­ing both parental roles is a mam­moth task that has shaped her to be who she is now.

Ms Senibale is a beneficiary of the Small Medium Enterprises $12,000 financed by Fiji’s largest micro-finance institution.

Since taking her first loan of $1000, Ms Senibale has seen her business grow through thick and thin.

“I run a canteen, pastry and kava business,” says Ms Senibale whose husband is a sailor and is often away from the family.

“It’s a difficult thing trying to run the business, playing both roles as a father and mother to your child because my husband many times is away at sea.

“But I’m thankful to this God Al­mighty for giving me the strength and inspiring me in such challeng­ing times and I am reaping the re­wards by being recognised as one of the five finalists for the busi­nesswoman award.

Top five finalist for SPBD

Ms Senibale says it’s a surprise to be named one of the five nominees, nevertheless, she’s humbled by the recognition.

She acknowledged SPBD and its staff for their continuous financial support that has empowered low-income and disadvantaged women.

“I really appreciate what SPBD has taught us, from financing us to pro­viding training, they have been a source of empowerment to women like me who not only live in the ur­ban areas but also the rural areas.”

Apart from her canteen, pastry and kava business, she travels to various carnivals around the coun­try to set up her candy shop.

“I travel to carnivals in Savusavu, Levuka, the Western side and Suva, Nausori to sell my candy.

“ I have a very close friend who is my business partner when it comes to carnivals.”

The 48-year old often earns a profit of between $2000 and $3000 per car­nival.

She says the carnival income is then budgeted to help her payments or supplement her existing busi­nesses.

Successful business

She makes a weekly payment of about $300 and has savings of around $3500. She also has her own personal savings at home which she uses to assist ladies who face prob­lems.

With the current nature of the yaqona industry since Tropical Cy­clone Winston, Senibale says she’s coping with the increasing price of yaqona.

“Yaqona business is very hard and many know that but I have contacts who’ve made it run smoothly to date.”

Ms Senibale is also assisting her sister’s tie and dye business selling her products at her canteen.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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