Marina Fesaitu was young when she learned the art of baking from her mother. Today, at the age of 57, she runs a bakery at Joes Farm in Suva, and two cake shops also in Suva named Sweet Endings Fiji which specialize in baking a variety of cakes and pastries for all occasions. In total, Marina has 14 employees.
Before starting Sweet Endings, Marina had only baked cakes for family members or for family functions. With the support of her family, she opened up for business from home. As time went on, the demand for her cakes and pastries increased and today Marina runs a successful bakery business.
Marina is delighted that her small business which she started from her home has grown and she looks forward to opening more branches in future, with the support of business associations available in her community.
She came to know about Business Link Pacific (BLP) and Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) through RK Chand & Associates, a BLP Business Service Provider offering financial services.
BLP’s Business Advisory Network operates in 12 countries across the Pacific, offering advice in many areas of business. In some cases, a subsidy to cover some of the cost of the advice is available, so long as the business satisfies certain criteria (https://about.businesslinkpacific.com/what-are-blps…/)
Marina was one of the recipients of a BLP Adaptation Grant, and with the grant money she was able to purchase an industrial oven and mixer for her business.
“I am grateful to BLP for giving me this grant. With the purchase of the three-deck oven and 60-liter mixer, I am able to bake more cakes and meet the demands of customers,” she said. Before, Marnia was not able to meet demand, and was forced to turn down cake orders.
Alongside this financial assistance, Marina is also thankful to BLP and BAF for developing a website for her business. And with 45,000 followers on Facebook, Marina has marketing sorted.
Preparation of financial statements is just one of the services currently provided by advisors through BAF and BLP’s Network. Other business services available range from organisational management, finance, and marketing to legal advice, human resources and technology (https://businesslinkpacific.com/search).
Marina encourages MSMEs to never give up on their dreams. “I built my business inside the kitchen of my house. Work is never-ending; therefore, you must be flexible and determined to make your business work. There will be ups and downs, but you must never give up.”
She urges MSMEs to visit the BAF office at Ground Floor, Vanua Arcade, Vanua House, Victoria Parade, Suva, Fiji to take advantage of the services they have to offer.
To MSMEs, are you inspired to find out more and get your business growing? Visit businesslinkpacific.com. From there you can access BLP’s services such as:
Our free online essential business tools, Business Health Check (https://businesslinkpacific.com/sme/business-health-check) and Business Continuity Planner (https://businesslinkpacific.com/…/business-continuity…) to identify areas in your business that could benefit from business advice. From there you can connect with a local business advisor.
Search our database of BLP approved business advisors (https://businesslinkpacific.com/search) to choose one that suits your needs. BLP-approved advisors can help you access subsidised services (https://about.businesslinkpacific.com/what-are-blps…/).
MSMEs can also contact BAF on +679 3311003 or +679 9981933 to set up a one-to-one Business Diagnostic consultation.