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Navneel's future plans

Manasa Kalouniviti
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WHILE Government's mandate is to empower youths by providing them with educational opportunities and vocational and skills training to enable them to develop their entrepreneurial skills, young Navneel Kumar, 24, was suddenly thrust into his family business after his father's untimely death in 2012.

"My father was a market vendor here at the Suva market for more than 24 years and after he passed away five years ago I took over the family business and have operated it since," Mr Kumar said.

He said his mother originally ran the market stalls while he was finishing his education.

"After my education I worked for a while but it wasn't paying enough so my mother told me, why don't you join the family business instead of working for others. And that's why I'm here and now I'm actually running the business and I've never looked back," he said.

"I'm also an IT and Software Technology graduate from the University of the South Pacific."

Mr Kumar said besides looking after the market stalls, he also does freelance work in graphic designing, web development and mobile app development.

"So whenever I get a freelance contract, I do it part-time. I work in the market during the day and in the afternoon, I work on all these projects and other stuff," the 24-year-old said.

"At the moment, I find juggling my time between the market stalls and my IT work very challenging but I'm trying to develop a portfolio in my IT work and I'm using the market stalls as my foundation, a sort of a platform to launch my work in IT."

He said he was saving up from the market business to start his own IT company.

"This is why I'm building up on my portfolio so I have my own clients when I start and I will have the financial support from the market vendor business to start off my company's operation," Mr Kumar said.

He said starting up a company in the right way was going to be difficult in terms of the marketing, the financial support and other matters so he was using this business to support his future plans in this.

He said for his IT business, he might form a software development company, developing software for small to medium business enterprises (SME) to help them grow.

"I hope to start this business within the next three years," he said.

He runs two long tables at the Suva market operating 17 stalls in all.

"At times I make enough surplus but business has been quite slow this year as there have been a lot of roadside vendors as well and since there's a lot of demand the prices of certain products are quite high. We also have to pay a lot in stall fees. For the 17 stalls I have to pay $290 stall fees per week and after paying all the expenses, sometimes in a bad week it can become quite difficult."

He sells pumpkins, watermelons, eggs, eggplant, chilies, pawpaws and other seasonal food produce at his stalls in the Suva market.

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