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Regina Chand: A story of resilience against the odds

Even after losing her business to fire in 2020 and her home to another fire in 2023, Regina Chand stayed strong and worked even harder to make her business successful after facing tough times.

When Regina’s father passed away while she was young, her mother took on the responsibility of raising Regina and her six siblings. To support the family, Regina’s mother began sewing clothes, and it was during this time that Regina learned the art of stitching.

Regina said she was only a teenager when she started learning how to sew clothes by helping her mother when her mother could not keep up with sewing orders.

Now with over four decades of experience in the clothing industry, Regina is an expert able to sew any type of garment.

Before Regina started her own business, Regina’s Creations, she worked at garment factories and for various fashion designers.

Regina had run her business at the Suva Flea Market from 2013. Business was good until 2020 when a fire destroyed her stall and sewing equipment. Around the same time, Covid struck and the lockdowns forced Regina to evacuate the house she was renting and she struggled to survive.

Despite these challenges, Regina maintained her positive can-do attitude and found ways to work around the obstacles in her path.

Later, Regina was given a stall to operate her business at the YMC building in De Vos in the Park, Suva. She purchased second-hand equipment to keep her business running, replacing what she had lost in the earlier fire.

Regina’s life was getting on track until another fire in July 2023 destroyed her house.

“In 2020, I lost my business, but I still had my house. Then, in 2023, I lost my house, but my business remained. It was a tough time, but instead of giving in to sadness, I chose to work hard and bounce back,” she said.

Regina came to know about Business Link Pacific (BLP) and Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) in 2023.  

BAF assisted Regina in preparing financial statements for her business. She worked with BAF and BLP Business Advisory Service Provider (BASP) RK Chand & Associates to prepare financial statements for Regina’s Creations for the year ending in 2022.

Using the financial statements, Regina successfully applied for a BLP Business Support Grant. Regina expressed her gratitude to BLP and BAF for their support toward her business.

“BAF assisted me with the preparation of the financial statement of my business and through BLP, I received a Business Support Grant, which enabled me to purchase an electric sewing machine,” she said.

Regina said that for a few years had wanted to purchase an electric sewing machine, but she wasn’t able to due to financial constraints, but this grant made it possible.

“With the new machine, I can meet customer demands more efficiently. It saves time, boosts productivity, and ultimately, empowers me to thrive in my business,” she said.

Regina highlighted that through BAF, she learned the importance of maintaining accurate financial records. She now does proper bookkeeping for her business.

She was among 50 participants who attended a three-day Women in Business training course organized by BAF and the Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) in April last year. She has been able to apply the knowledge she gained during the three-day training to her business.

Encouraging other MSMEs, Regina said, “If I can do it, then you can do it too. BAF and BLP are there to support, to uplift, and to ensure that no MSME walks alone.”

She further encouraged MSMEs to reach out to BAF and BLP for assistance.

ENDS

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