A dynamic young social impact entrepreneur, Sagufta Janif, is making waves with her innovative ideas, strong views on the global waste crisis and efforts to support the economic empowerment of young people and women through her Fiji business, Fusion Hub.
Here are some highlights from Sagufta’s discussion with Pacific Makete’s Sera Tikotikovatu-Sefeti.
Bula Sagufta, can you tell us a little about your business?
We started Fusion Hub in 2017. It’s a personal story. I used to go swimming at a favourite spot of mine, it calms me and [brings me] peace; it helps me think especially about creative concepts. A few years later, I went back and I was disgusted at the sight of plastics, diapers, in the once pristine waters. So I decided to change my consumption behaviour, as a result when I moved to a different flat I decided to create my own furniture because I didn’t want to purchase plastic ones.
I was raised by a single mother; and so I witnessed first-hand the struggle my mother went through when she was trying to get a job. There is a stereotypical sort of view set on women that they cannot do certain things. I wanted to change that narrative and perspective. So further down the line, I started working with women and communities training them on how to make these pieces of furniture.
As a businessperson, what kind of support did you wish you had access to from the start?
First of all, I would like a step-by-step guide on the process of how to start a business, where to go to register, what are the criteria, because I had to find that out by myself, and it was a difficult task. At that point, we didn’t have any digital systems where you can register your business online. We didn’t have access to a lot of support services, especially starting a business in the west [Western Fiji].
What kind of support would you like access to now?
When I see the landscape now, it is so easy, you have access to information right at your fingertips. Of course, one of the things that I constantly advocate for is a change in our bank systems and more support for SMEs, because this financial inclusion shouldn’t just be limited to people that work. It should also be extended to business owners, entrepreneurs, startups and we don’t see that landscape right now.
For instance, I have wanted to apply for a loan, or a personal loan, I can’t do that. If I don’t have an employment contract, even if my business is earning above $100k, I still won’t get it.
To read the full interview with Sagufta, visit https://pacificmakete.com.fj/