Couple strives on

Jitendra Sharma and wife Praneeta inside their shop in Navua Town on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THERE are times when young entrepreneurs are faced with situations which urge them to quit but its their sheer determination and dedication which pushes them to strive on.

Praneeta and her husband Jitendra Sharma, have been through this scenario in their business but their will to succeed in their business has enabled them to come this far.

In 2011 the couple invested about $15,000 in a small store called Budget Supermarket in Navua Town — fast becoming a favourite among the school students from the area and the general public.

Mrs Sharma said their store had items which ranged from school stationery, snacks, certain household items and homemade sweets.

“We also run a billiard shop and my husband has his taxi business.

The Fiji Development Bank assisted us in starting these two businesses and I am very grateful to them,” she said.

Mrs Sharma said they were really struggling with their business when FDB came in to their assistance.

“Our customers are mostly travellers who stop at the Navua bus stand on their way to Suva or the West.

“Then there are the school students from the schools around here because we also have school stationery and other school items.

“The billiard shop has been doing well although there are times when things are really slow and business gets slow.”

The couple has three children and the business has been good in supporting the family.

Mr Sharma said his taxi business was doing well however said there were times when things would slow down.

In terms of safety for businesses, Mr Sharma said the police station was right in town which made their and other businesses in town felt safe.

“Here in Navua we do not have that many robberies and break-ins at shops and supermarkets because it’s a small place and everyone know each other. “Besides, the police here are very active and are always there to assist us in case we need help,” he said.

Expansion plans Mrs Sharma is very passionate about her Indian sweets and plans to start a small business of selling Indian sweets from the shop.

“I love making sweets and I usually make something such as barfi and sell it from the shop,” she said.

She said it would take her a few months or even shorter to launch it but she believes it would be popular with her customers.

“The sweets that I sell here now are sold out in a short time and I also at times get requests from some customers who give me orders for their sweets,” she said.

Mrs Sharma said they were glad that government had initiatives and policies in place to encourage and assist small entrepreneurs to get ahead in their business.

Business grant Recently micro, small and medium enterprises received grants from the Government and FDB and Mr Sharma said they were one of the recipients.

“We are glad of this assistance and we used the grant to start a poultry business.

It has been a boost to our existing business,” he said.

Mr Sharma said they planned to work towards improving their sales and expand their business and then maybe participate in the many awards that are being offered for small businesses such as theirs.

He said such exposure would be great for their business.

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