Bid to support Fijian youth startups

ANYONE living in Fiji can tell you that one of the major setbacks in communities is the lack of ideas needed to generate a business – particularly a sustainable one.

And it is not very often that we hear of initiatives that support sustainable Fijian youth startups in organic agribusinesses and small manufacturers.

But a new partnership between Loving Islands, an award-winning sustainable development organisation, and Tasty Island Treats Fiji, a local food and beverage startup, aims to boost Fijian youth startups through accessing much needed support.

Both enterprises thrive on conserving the environment through sustainable development and target Fijian youth startups aspiring to thrive in the world of entrepreneurship.

The exciting new initiative will see the establishment of a new office space at 11 Bureta Street in Tamavua called BOUTIQUE 11.

The co-working space will include a small commercial kitchen, cafe and retail store to support sustainable Fijian youth startups.

It will also be used for environmental training and education ranging from an after school program to sustainable urban farming workshops for the general public.

Founding director of Loving Islands Litia Kirwin said the two enterprises were working together to establish the new multi-purpose space drawing from their first-hand experiences of the challenges faced by youth startups in Fiji.

“We are very excited to bring this space to life as it will provide much needed support to young entrepreneurs as well as a new social destination for Suva locals and tourists to engage in.” she said.

Loving Islands has also been actively involved in the organic movement, particularly rural farmers/entrepreneurs in Matuku and Taveuni among others.

Tasty Island Treats Fiji owner Nakita Bingham said the new collaboration with Loving Islands would include a startup incubator, social enterprise, training centre, organic garden, café and retail store.

“It will also see environmental training and education providing ranging from an after-school program for children to sustainable urban farming workshops for the general public,” she explained.

Upcoming sustainable education programs include an Urban Organic Agroecology six-week short course.

The now fully-booked program will comprise practical sessions on the Pacific Organic Standards, soil health, soil ecology and composting; nutrient analysis and organic fertilisers; seed saving and pest and disease management; farm business administration and record keeping; and market access development.

There will be a final exam for assessment and the full course costs $90.00. Drop-in classes are also open at a cost of $20.00 per class.

Another exciting event to be hosted as part of the exciting launch is the Green Island Kids Club six week program for ages 5-11 years old, which will kick off from October 16 and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday.

Tuesday sessions will cover organic urban gardening and Thursday will be a kids’ creative design class.

Children can expect to learn about sustainability, recycling, and creative things to do with recycled material. The six week program costs $200 for 12 classes.

While the short course has been fully booked, there are still spaces available for the After school Kids Club program, Ms Kirwin said.

*For bookings and enquiries contact Loving Islands on 355 4019 or email contact@lovingislands.com

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