Five Labasa sisters yesterday thanked the Government for helping to keep their business afloat following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sisters, who operate Vukiyah Investment, were among many who were supported by Government’s COVID-19 Concessional Financial Support Package for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) grant.
They run a small business selling bedding sets which include decorative pillows, bedspread, comforter, and mosquito net – all that is needed for gifts to be presented in an iTaukei traditional wedding.
“We thank the Fijian Government for this enormous assistance that will keep our business afloat,” said Litiana Vuki Moce, director of Vukiyah Investment.
Because the sisters are members of the Sabbath Keepers – Kingdom of Yah, they do not operate their business on the busiest day, Saturday.
But they firmly believe that keeping their Sabbath holy is what keeps them going.
Originally from Gau, with maternal links to Vunikodi, Udu, Macuata, Mrs. Moce said when they opened up the business last October, they noted that the business started slow.
It eventually progressed as the following months passed.
She said when COVID-19 hit, it was an unexpected time for their new business, and they were greatly affected.
“Nonetheless, we decided that we were never going to close our doors no matter how long the pandemic is going to be,” Mrs. Moce said.
“With the profits we made from the first three months of business, it got us rolling when the pandemic hit.
“Through a dear friend and business partner, she informed us about the Government’s COVID-19 Concessional Financial Support Package for MSME and took me to get an application form,” she said.
“I took the form to Labasa and while trying to complete our application, many of our family members had sought my help to assist them in filling their own application.”
After sending their application sealed with prayers, they planned out how to utilize the grant if given the chance.
“When we received the phone call that we were among the recipients, we were so grateful,” Mrs. Moce added.
“We had only started with two domestic machines, but now we have added two industrial machines, restocked on fabric that we use to sew decorative pillows, rulers, and assorted sewing equipment in addition.”
They also cleared up rent arrears and paid three months in advance.
She said they started the business to inspire their children that they can be job creators in the future.