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It’s Balawa Fish For Vuniyayawa

At the onset of COVID-19, Kuini Vuniyayawa’s resilience opened new opportunities that led to her business venture, Balawa Fish Caterers. After losing her job in light of the global pandemic
03 Feb 2021 11:52
It’s Balawa Fish For Vuniyayawa
Kuini Vuniyayawa’s resilience opened new oppor tunities that led to her business venture, Balawa Fish.

At the onset of COVID-19, Kuini Vuniyayawa’s resilience opened new opportunities that led to her business venture, Balawa Fish Caterers.

After losing her job in light of the global pandemic and its impact on the local economy, Mrs Vuniyayawa said she looked for ways to sustain her and her family’s lifestyle.

“I was working for Balawa Road Kava Bar in Lautoka,” she said.

“When COVID-19 hit us, the kava bar closed so we decided to go and buy fish from my husband’s village in Yasawa to sell in Nausori where my husband and I now reside.”

“Majority of the villagers had been laid off because of COVID-19 as they were previously employed at the nearby hotels and also the tourism industry was greatly affected.”

She highlighted that while selling fish in the Nausori area, there came a time when there was a lot of fish but less customers.

Fijian fishermen.

Fijian fishermen.

 

It was then that Mrs Vuniyayawa decided to expand her venture into cooking fish to sell as food parcels.

“I decided to cook fish and sell it at the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) complex in Knolly Street, Suva. On average, I would sell 60 to 80 serves of lunch per day.”

She said her business venture was possible through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) sponsored by the Embassy of the United States in Fiji.

“I never missed a class – I learnt about advertising, how to finance my business and how to finance my dream.”

She said she was thankful to the AWE facilitators for teaching her how to develop a business plan.

“All of my life I had been working under different business people and now AWE has given me the opportunity to run my own business.”

Now, she does not only sell cooked fish but other dishes from the local Fijian cuisine at the FTA complex.

Mrs Vuniyayawa said she aspires to expand her business and also encourage all Fijians who have been laid off because of COVID-19 to dream big.

Fish ready for sale at the markets in Fiji.

Fish ready for sale at the markets in Fiji.

Feedback: shreya.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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