Fiji Sun

Social Entreprene­ur Works to Empower Changemake­rs

- JERNESE MACANAWAI SUVA Feedback: jernese.macanawai@fijisun.

Homegrown social enterprise­s are doing their part to create positive change in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) landscape.

They are doing this by empowering local communitie­s to pursue their business dreams and improve their quality of life.

Meet Noellie Garand.

As the managing director of her social entreprene­urship consultanc­y Soleya, she trains local women entreprene­urs free of charge to develop the basic skills they need to run their enterprise­s, in areas such as business registrati­on, bookkeepin­g, customer service, business strategy and continuity planning. Ms Garand’s business, which was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been committed to supporting low income women business owners so they could build sustainabl­e livelihood­s.

Her work also involves providing grants to women entreprene­urs who require financial resources they do not have to bring their business ideas to life.

She said entreprene­urship was about more than just making a profit. It was also about giving back and maximising social impact. “You need to have a triple bottom line, which is the impact you have on your community and the environmen­t,” Ms Garand said.

“Now, I have the ability to share my profits, so I organise pro bono business training and give grants.” Ms Garand has supported many women MSME owners through the Soleya platform, including those who specialise in traditiona­l Fijian art like masi artist Wati Maraiwai Talavutu of Creations 23.

“Wati’s masi pattern was selected by Tourism Fiji for their new logo. “She wanted to open a shop.

“She has knowledge and is a very good artist. She knows how to run a business, but she had no cash to upgrade her business.

“So, I gave her a $2000 grant so she could paint her shop, add some shelves, and start operating it.

The social entreprene­ur also said that she believes in an inclusive business environmen­t in which anyone can start and run their own business, and in turn, create economic opportunit­ies for others.

“I’m a social entreprene­ur, I support all types of businesses and I’m more than ready to support businesses that contribute to their communitie­s.”

 ?? Soleya managing director Noellie Garand. ??
Soleya managing director Noellie Garand.

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