Grit And Gumption Got Her Places

The award, at the Fiji Development Bank’s annual Small and Micro Entreprises honors, was worth the struggle the staff endured when they doubted themselves for being inadequate and small.
20 Jan 2020 13:26
Grit And Gumption Got Her Places
Maria Ronna Luna Pastorizo-Sekiguchi had a reason to smile after receiving the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award from the President Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote at the 2018 Fiji Development Bank National Small and Medium Entreprises awards at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Blood, sweat and tears paid off for The Greenhouse Studio, when they scooped the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2018.

The award, at the Fiji Development Bank’s annual Small and Micro Entreprises honors, was worth the struggle the staff endured when they doubted themselves for being inadequate and small.

Founder Maria Ronna Luna Pastorizo-Sekiguchi said she will not re-enter the awards this year.

But she is encouraging other businesses to compete because of the value it brings.

She reflected on the time the company was challenged financially to make ends meet.

“Worrying about where to get the next pay for our staff, for all those times we hustled continuously to thrive and grow instead of just merely surviving as a small business, awards like these make all of those times worth it.”

Mrs Pastorizo-Sekiguchi, the creative and innovation director at The Greenhouse hailed FDB, the sponsors, organizers, and judges, for the acknowledgment and recognition it accorded SMEs.

As an FDB award winner, she reflected how her business grew since its inception.

The Greenhouse Studio

The Greenhouse Studio is a multidisciplinary creative design and communications studio based in Suva.

It was founded on the idea that creative solutions could inspire real change in the world, Mrs Pastorizo-Sekiguchi said.

“My company’s mantra is “We inspire change”, a meaningful phrase that stems from my own personal desire to always make a difference, no matter how big or small to everyone I encounter in my life.”

Born in the Philippines, she grew up seeing my mother running small businesses such as a bakery, a local pizzeria, and even an ice cream cart.

“My mother was a teacher by profession but she had an entrepreneurial mind.”

It was when her father quit his job because of persistent office politics, that her mother saw an opportunity to enter the transportation business and finance a jeepney to be driven on very busy industrial routes.

Mrs Pastorizo-Sekiguchi said her mother gathered enough money to run several carts which sold sell juice and snacks around town.

“These acts of courage paid the university education of my brother and me.

We did not become millionaires

Mrs Pastorizo-Sekiguch moved to Fiji in 2004 and made it her home.

That became official when she married in Fiji in 2010.

“Four years after, I started The Greenhouse Studio on my own, in the nursery, one of the bedrooms in my family’s flat that we were renting in at Laucala Beach, with only a laptop, a mobile Wi-Fi device, my mobile phone, two local clients and loads of grit and gumption.”

From humble entrepreneurial beginnings, the business has grown to a seven member team, and a growing clientele as far reaching as international links could measure.

“I worked in the second bedroom next to my son’s old crib, then graduated to a bigger spot in the living room.”


“I started with an old and existing laptop, a phone and mobile Wi-Fi that I had, plus my brains, personality, advice from other entrepreneurs and books, and loads of guts, grit and gumption.

“From there I completely bootstrapped and grew.”

Mrs Pastorizo-Sekiguchi said her mother taught her to be innovative and entrepreneurial.

“It is my father who taught me about leadership and integrity.”

She believes her involvement in a whole host of activities in high school has prepared her well for the journey she is on.

“I do not shy away from responsibility mainly because I was taught that giving back to others not only touches other people’s lives, it also enriches and changes the life of the giver.”

She encourages small businesses to apply for the 2019 FDB National SME Awards


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