Loan helps business

Melaia Adi talks about her business. Picture: MONIKA SINGH

Melaia Adi of Yasawa-i-Rara started her working career as a school teacher and taught in various schools around the country for 21 years until she finally decided to resign from the profession and ventured out to dedicate her full time to her business.

Ms Adi started teaching in 1997 and was a devoted teacher but she also had a passion for baking which she continued with during her spare time and weekends.

“I started baking and used to sell my cakes and pastries at the school and in the village,” she said.

Her small business was doing well and she finally decided to resign from her teaching career to focus her time on her business.

Ms Adi and her husband moved to Nadera where they rented a small shop and later rented an outlet in the Capital City and opened her catering business – Adi’s Events and Catering – at Parade Building.

The shop opened in March 2020 however a few weeks later COVID-19 cases were reported in Fiji which led to businesses closing down and losing business.

Ms Adi said their business was down and they were bogged down with rent arrears and were only able to make sales worth $80 or even less.

“My colleagues kept telling me to shut down and but I did not give up. I saw there were other businesses that were open during the time in the vicinity and it made me think of what kept them going,” she said.

Ms Adi said she then applied for COVID-19 relief assistance from FNPF and finally managed to receive $7000 which she used to pay her rent and other expenses.

This year she was encouraged by her friend to apply for the Fiji Development Bank’s Loan for Women Entrepreneurs facility and her application was approved.

Ms Adi and her husband were then able to upgrade their catering business and with the profit they made, were also able to rent an apartment at the Devos on the park.

“Our orders have been increasing lately and now we have clients who are from the government departments, the banks and other corporate clients.

From August this year we started catering for more corporate clients and that has kept us busy.

“We rented out this apartment because since we do not have cooking facilities at our shop and there are times when we get late orders, we are able to finish the orders from our apartment and deliver them on time.”

The business now has four permanent staff and six staff members who are employed when there is a need for more hands on deck.

“As business women we may be proud of the fact that we were able to start our businesses without any financial help from a bank or any other financial institution but believe me – we need such financial assistance to help us advance and upgrade our business,” she said.

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