20 May, 2022, 6:30 pm
There has been a lot of focus on assisting small businesses with the aim to encourage them to improve and enhance their products and services.
Grants have been provided by Government through the Fiji Development Bank to SMEs and MSMEs which has benefited those who qualified for these grants. Small business operator Aachal Reddy of Mead Rd, Nabua is one of those entrepreneurs who have received the grant and has put it to good use. Ms Reddy operates her business – Sweet Sip – from her home and recently invested in a machine which is used to make rolled ice-cream.
“I started out by selling juice and milkshakes on the roadside near my home. My husband and I were going through difficult times and I didn’t have any money to start so my mother gave me $30 to start my juice stall,” she said.
With that $30 she started selling juice and later added milkshakes to the beverage selection.
“Surprisingly my income from my juice and milkshake increase to $200 and then COVID-19 cases started increasing and business slowed down.”
Ms Reddy said she had applied for the FDB grant last year and was fortunate enough to receive $7000 from the bank.
“We then started thinking about what more we can do with this grant apart from our usual juice business and we finally came upon rolled ice-cream and it seemed interesting and went well with our business.
“We then bought the ice-cream maker from overseas and after some trial and error we finally perfected our recipe for rolled ice-cream,” she said. Sweet Sip officially launched its rolled ice-cream at the Rups Complex in Nakasi during the Eid celebrations last week Saturday.
“It was the first time we brought it to the public and people just loved it.”
According to Ms Reddy it takes about 3 to 4 minutes to get one order ready which is why they were planning to buy a bigger machine to be able to make multiple orders. Some of the flavours used by Sweet Sip include strawberry, pineapple, orange, mango, banana, oreo, chocolate chip and coconut.
“Oreo and strawberry are two of our favourite flavours and our customers just love it. Our prices depend on the different flavours – it ranges from $6, $7, $8 and $10.
“We are just so excited with this new business and we are also confident that it will become a profitable business.
“Everyone is looking at business ideas and how they can earn some extra income by investing in small businesses and my advice to them is to continue working hard and make your ideas work.”
Ms Reddy said they would be at the Suva Civic Centre’s market day scheduled for next week Saturday and invited members of the public to visit their stall and try out the new rolled ice-cream.