Lifestyle

Sacrifice Pays Off For Vani Vakacegu

Vani Vakacegu is one of the five finalists for the 2017 South Pacific Business Development Ltd Busi­nesswoman of the Year award. She is the centre chief of the Senibua-Deuba Centre.
28 Feb 2019 12:34
Sacrifice Pays Off For Vani Vakacegu
Vani Vakacegu

I can also succeed if others have succeeded is a motto Vani Duguci Vakacegu lives by.

Ms Vakacegu, was one of the five finalists for the 2017 South Pacific Business Development Ltd Busi­nesswoman of the Year award, is the centre chief of the Senibua-Deuba Centre.

The awards will be held this year at Churchill Park, Lautoka on Thursday, February 28 from 6pm to 11pm.

About Ms Vakacegu

She owns a fish business, valued at approximately $20,000, and she recently bought a $16,000 Prius Hybrid car.

Ms Vakacegu is a wife, mother and businesswoman who, as a young girl, sacrificed her educa­tion to work and financially sup­port her younger siblings.

Now, years down the line at 39, she’s settled with a family, is a mum to six children and still car­ries the same resilience, breaking into unfamiliar financial turf for the benefit ofher family.

MsVakacegu buys fish off her husband – a fisherman – and his mates and either sells it at home in Rovadrau settlement, outside Navua town, or waits for Saturday to sell at the Suva market.

Recently, she partnered an Aus­tralian businessman to sell his tilapia (maleya). However, she has yet to formalise the partnership.

About her business journey

A graduate of Australia-Pacific Training College, Ms Vakacegu believes her business journey is the result of sheer determination, hard work and the willingness to assist her husband.

“I chose this business because my husband is a fisherman,” she says.

Her story unfolded four years ago when she asked her husband to sell his catch at the Suva fish market.

“It was just a simple request that I made my husband, and he gave me his catch for that night and that’s how my business started till,” she says.

“I was a bit nervous when I first came to sell at the market but I challenged myself.

Being at home for several years then trying something I’d never done before took great courage and determina­tion.

“The business is doing good for me. But during bad weather I need to have alternatives to sup­plement my income.”

Her new car is sometimes hired by neighbors and is an extra source of revenue.

She also sews and sells sweets.

Education opportunities

Ms Vakacegu’s motive is to pro­vide the best education opportu­nities for her children.

“I didn’t finish my education because of financial problems which forced me to look

for a job so that my younger sib­lings could continue school.

“I don’t want the same to happen to my children.

“This motivates me to work hard so they can benefit.”

Being nominated last year as a finalist for the premier SPBD award came as a surprise to Ms Vakacegu.

“I’m only a fish seller who sits at the market every Saturday selling fish and it’s a surprise because the type of business I operate, I can’t believe I‘ve made it to the top.

“There are other women who run better types of businesses and I’m speechless but I believe this is the outcome of my hard work and I thank SPBD for recog­nising it.”

During her term as centre chief, Ms Vakacegu has built a market stall at Viwawa along the Queens highway, providing opportunities for other SBD members to sell their root crops, fruits and vegeta­bles. Non-centre members pay a daily fee to use the market.

Ms Vakacegu thanked SPBD for not only empowering women in rural communities but also for recognising their hard work.

About SPBD

South Pacific Business Develop­ment (SPBD) is a network of Mi­crofinance Institutions working in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Solo­mon Islands dedicated to eradi­cating poverty by empowering women in poor rural villages with the opportunity to start, grow and maintain sustainable, income-generating micro-enterprises, build assets, as well as, finance home improvements and child­hood education.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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