After her father’s untimely death in 2016, Razia Subhan took over the family business, Art Studios. The business has been in operation for the last 38 years, initially started by Razia’s father.
Art Studios, located at 64 Marks Street, Suva, is a photography and picture framing business, offering a broad range of services. Photographic services include passport photos, portraits, outdoor photography, photo enlargement and picture framing. It also offers custom designed picture framing, particularly using sustainably sourced mahogany and raintree timber, canvas framing, photocopying, document printing, lamination, and digital photos.
With just one female employee, Razia found herself very busy indeed. “It was very challenging for me to run this photography and picture framing business during this digital era. However, being brought up in the photography environment, it was natural for me to have photography as my passion and being well versed in the business enabled me to run it smoothly as well.”
Razia came to know about Business Link Pacific (BLP) through Facebook during the COVID lockdown. She was keen to explore the possibility of expanding her business, and this seemed the perfect opportunity. BLP had recently launched the Adaptation Grant for Fiji and seven other countries in the Pacific region to help MSMEs to revive and adapt to the changes in the business environment brought about by the pandemic.
While applying for an Adaptation Grant, Razia came across Business Assistance Fiji (BAF). She was amazed by the customer service provided by BAF. “BAF assisted me to get all documentation done for my business; they essentially ran a diagnostic test on my business and made it into what it is today.”
For Razia, BLP and BAF have been a contributing factor in the growth of her business. With the grant money, Razia was able to purchase new printing machines and more stocks for her bulk orders, taking her business to another level.
BAF also helped Razia in getting her business’s financial statements prepared. She was matched with Elite Bookkeepers & Associates, a BLP and BAF Business Service Provider (BSP) offering financial services. With their assistance, the financial statements for her photography and picture framing business for the year ending 31 December 2022 were prepared.
Working with Elite Bookkeepers & Associates, Razia also learned the importance of debt management, business planning and record keeping. She now keeps a daily record of her business transactions to enable future financial statements to be prepared seamlessly.
Razia never misses any opportunity to learn about business management. She was one of 50 participants who attended a three-day Women in Business training course run by BAF and the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI).
Applying the knowledge, she gained and information she received during the three-day training session, she was able to expand her business.
Razia knows from first-hand experience that MSMEs are integral to the success of the Fijian economy, and that organisations such as BLP, BAF and CEFI help those organisations to be recognized and succeed.
“I am grateful to BLP and BAF for giving MSMEs the recognition and opportunity to be a part of them. Also, providing services which MSMEs need to thrive and succeed in their business,” she said. If Razia comes across an MSME owner in Fiji who is feeling stuck or in need of guidance, she now actively encourages them to reach out to BAF.
There are many ways in which BLP and BAF together help support MSMEs in Fiji:
Access to Expertise: With the support of BAF, SMEs can tap into a diverse pool of business advisors, each specializing in areas such as accounting, marketing, HR, business strategy, training, and coaching.
Financial Support: Approved business advisors can subsidize service fees for eligible local SMEs, making these invaluable services even more accessible.
Business Advisory Services: BLP and BAF have successfully guided more than 1,500 SMEs in accessing top-tier business advisory services.
Improved business operations and outcomes: The partnership offers businesses access to services that optimize operations, reduce expenses, increase profits, and establish long-term success.
There are many ways to access BLP services in Fiji:
You can contact BAF for a face-to-face business diagnostic using the link: https://about.businesslinkpacific.com/countries/
You can start an online self-assessment to identify gaps in your business using the BLP SME Toolkit: https://businesslinkpacific.com/
For more information on Business Assistance Fiji, please click the link: https://businessassistancefiji.com/ or visit their office on Ground Floor, Vanua Arcade, Vanua House, Victoria Parade in Suva.