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$500 into $15k

Ana Madigibuli
Monday, April 16, 2018

AT the age of 21, Nazat Sharin Nisha opened her fish retail shop in Navua with only $500 to her name.

From only $500, Nazat was able to grow her business with a steady foundation with minimal help of family and friends who supported her aspirations.

Now she is one of the main suppliers of fresh seafood, lamb and chicken produce to the provinces of Serua and Namosi, restaurants and hotels operating close to the district.

"I was 21 years old when I started my business and I had a lot of ideas of how I was going to run it. When I was in high school I use to do part-time work for my uncle who owns the building that my shop is situated in," she said.

"I get a lot of business ideas and tips from my uncle, especially on how to run a business and from there my aspirations of operating a business started building.

"I had other dreams while studying and starting a business wasn't one of my immediate goals. I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture like securing a job with the biosecurity team.

"After I completed my Trade Diploma in agriculture I went on to do my Bachelor's Degree in agriculture at the Fiji National University. I still have to complete my studies, but I have already started planning for the future and that is venturing out into hydroponic farming."

Nisha said during her internship with the Fiji Sugar Corporation in Labasa, she noticed fishing and farming were major sources of livelihood for those living there.

"I use to go to the market in Labasa and check the fish quality. I noticed the prices were different than in Navua it was more expensive and Labasa was cheaper.

"From there the ideas started coming into place and my father was a self-employed fisherman for over 40 years and he faced a lot of difficulties selling his daily catch to middlemen here.

"With the struggle my father faced I decided to open the shop and buy the produce from him and resell it to customers. Now my dad, women who sell crabs here daily and local fishermen supply me with produce I later sell to my customers."

Nisha said there wasn't any shop in Navua that sold fresh halal meat when she opened her shop.

"I'm fortunate to be working with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and also being assisted by the Fiji Development Bank," she said.

"We need people to start something on their own rather than graduate from school looking for jobs. They can be innovative and creative in doing something on their own and later develop it to something bigger.

"It's not always about people needing capital in order to start something, for me I just simply started with $500 and I was working for RamiSami and Sons Ltd as an intern.

"Hard work pays off and there might be a little bit of struggling along the way but the outcome is always great."

Now in just two and a half years she has managed to secure assets of $15,000.

"The ministry is assisting in terms of grants, but I haven't receive it yet but it has been approved and we having an official meeting where it will be handed over to me," she said.

She hopes that her story will motivate young Fijians to think big and achieve even bigger in life.

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