From $20 in his pocket to owning a business

Ajnesh Kamal, a forty-nine-year-old entrepreneur, is a recipient of the Business Link Pacific (BLP) Business Support Grant.

From a humble beginning with just $20 in his pocket, Ajnesh’s journey from Labasa to Suva is one that exemplifies resilience, hard work, and unwavering determination. Today, he is the proud owner of Ajnesh Marlin and Sunwhite Supplies, a wholesale and fish processing business.

Ajnesh’s business supplies products to supermarkets, small businesses, and even provides affordable fish to villages in the interior. Operating from his home in Tawakalevu, Koronivia, he manages a team of four employees.

The $6,800 grant will assist Ajnesh in purchasing a slicer machine and upgrading the processing area in his business.

Ajnesh expressed his gratitude for the grant he received from BLP and Business Assistance Fiji (BAF), appreciating their support. “I am thankful to BLP and BAF for giving me this grant because this grant money will help me upgrade my business.”

Ajnesh recognizes the importance of investing in his business to enhance its efficiency and productivity. “By acquiring a slicer machine, I aim to streamline my operations and improve the processing of fish products. The upgrade of the processing area will further enable me to meet growing demands and provide better quality products to my customers.” 

Ajnesh said the support received from BAF and BLP is a testament to their commitment to empowering local businesses and entrepreneurs. “By providing financial assistance and resources, they are enabling individuals like me to expand and strengthen our enterprises.” 

Originally from Bulileka in Labasa, Ajnesh was forced to leave his home and land due to a personal dispute. Despite the challenges he faced, his resilient spirit led him to start anew in Suva. Arriving with only $20 in his pocket, Ajnesh felt overwhelmed by various thoughts. “I had no family support, no house, and no job and the $20 I had with me was finished in two days.”

Desperate to provide for his family, he secured a loan from a relative and a job in the construction of the new Rewa bridge. His happiness was short-lived when he lost his job after only a few months.  

Determined not to be deterred, Ajnesh made the bold decision to start his own business. “I decided to start my own business because I was the only breadwinner and had a family to look after. Another reason was that I had previous experience managing business operations, which gave me the knowledge to operate a business effectively.”

In 2015, Ajnesh opened his fish supply business, which is still thriving despite facing challenges along the way. The funding assistance from BLP will financially boost revenue and sustainability of his business.

Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) is the in-country partner for Business Link Pacific (BLP) and together they help support MSMEs in Fiji. On June 2, BLP launched its Business Support Grant for MSMEs in Fiji.

Grants were awarded based on business size and other factors.  As a guide:

  • businesses with up to 5 employees are eligible for grants up to NZD 5,000 (FJD 6,771.20) equivalent;
  • businesses with up to 10 employees are eligible for up to NZD 10,000 (FJD 13,542.40) equivalent;
  • businesses with 20 employees or more can apply for grants up to NZD 20,000 (FJD 27,084.81) equivalent; and
  • businesses with up to 50 employees can apply for grants up to NZD 30,000 (FJD 40,627.21) equivalent.

Business Support Grants are designed to stimulate SME growth, innovation, access to finance, and investment in social inclusion and climate action.

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