THE Commendation Award received at the FDB Small Business Awards for the Wholesale/Retail Category in November 2012 was a timely boost for Janendra Kumar of Nasau in Sigatoka.
Mr Kumar, 44, is an entrepreneur who toiled hard to build his kava retail and export business in Sigatoka over the past eight years.
"I was really surprised when FDB called to inform me that I was one of the nominees for the wholesale and retail category," he said.
"The award is really good for my business because it gives recognition to this business I have built with my family. It also means that my hard work has paid off."
Originally from Durumoli, Mr Kumar and his family moved to Nasau in 2004 after securing a 10-acre lease.
This is where he plans the business activities for the stall at the Sigatoka market as well as exports to Samoa and New Zealand.
He started exporting kava in 2006 and sources his supply from the Navosa highlands, Labasa, Taveuni and Kadavu.
"I started with just selling kava from my stall at the Sigatoka market and this went very well as there was a lot of demand for it here in the west. At the back of my mind, I had always planned to export kava overseas. Exporting is better because I can sell in bulk compared to retailing locally where I have to compete for market share."
Mr Kumar exports an average of 600 kilograms of kava to New Zealand and a further three tonnes to Samoa annually. He plans to expand his business by securing additional markets overseas and increasing the volume of export.