Hobby earns Rosi a living

Leba Rosi Salusalu sells pie at Lautoka Wharf. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Leba Rosi Salusalu is a young woman entrepreneur who has turned her hobby into a business.

The 20-year-old lass from Lomolomo in Lautoka is running her family business of selling pies and cakes with the sole reason of improving the financial and well-being of her family despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I discovered my love for baking at an early age,” she said. “My mother encouraged me to put my skills to good use.

“I am selling pies and cakes and even take orders for all occasions. “I’m on a mission to make my world a better place.”

Ms Salusalu, who is the eldest in a family consisting of five girls and three boys, said she did not complete her secondary school education because she had a desire to become a qualified pastry chef.

“I finished my Year 10 education at Nadi Muslim Secondary School and convinced my parents of getting enrolled at the Fiji National University in Namaka, Nadi to pursue a career in pastry.

“I finished my courses last year and got employed in a restaurant at Port Denarau earlier this year

. “I always wanted to work in a hotel set up so the decision to work there was easy because of the environment.”

She said the emergence of the second wave of COVID-19 had her completely dumbfounded.

“When the second wave of a killer virus started in Fiji, I wondered how I would fare as the lockdowns, including the stringent health and protective measures by the Ministry of Health, got introduced.

“I wasn’t faced with many challenges when COVID-19 struck. “The virus had an impact on my job because I got unemployed overnight with the closures of restaurants. “The constant thought of being masked-up to navigate my way through was also always at the back of my mind.

“It was tough, but although I was faced with immense challenges because of COVID-19, I remained steadfast in my quest to succeed and regarded the negativities as challenges.”

Ms Salusalu said being an entrepreneur required a vision that extended beyond the horizons.

“There are challenges which I have faced and continue to face by working in a social space, but I believe the positive impacts I create on other women far outweigh the challenges I face. I’m simply born for the role.

“It’s extremely encouraging to get the support from the rest of the family since my other sisters assist me in the baking of pies while my parents accompany me to the various places I normally sell my goodies.”

She had a strong message to other young females.

“Women shouldn’t fret about not having the same opportunities for entrepreneurship as men.

“If a woman is determined to succeed, nothing can stop her because women entrepreneurs, no matter how big or small are critical to growth and prosperity.

“It gives women an opportunity to support their families with dignity.

“She becomes a trailblazer and people start to be infectiously optimistic about the trajectory of businesswomen.

“Although the road is risky for women entrepreneurs, our perseverance and will to hold tenaciously to the conviction that we will ultimately become successful. “It’s about time that we step into the ring so that other lives can also be enriched.

“If you’re passionate about what you want to do, you will definitely find your way through despite the rough patches.”

Ms Salusalu said she easily makes $100 in a day only by selling pies and harbours no desire to rejoin the workforce.

“I love to be my own boss and I don’t want to work for anyone else now.”

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