$150k investment creates 20 new jobs

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Amelia Simmons inside her new club ‘Underground’ in Labasa Town. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

An investment of $150,000 in Labasa Town which has been completed will provide employment opportunities for about 20 people.

Although opposed and challenged by other existing business houses which resulted in a tense public hearing between supporters and those who objected, the investor Amelia Simmons yesterday confirmed receiving her approved plan from the Ministry of Local Government and the Labasa Town Council.

The investment, believed to be one of the state-of-the-art clubs includes the Underground Club Dance Bar Lounge and a liquor shop that sits in the main street of town.

“It wasn’t an easy journey and sometimes I felt the objection came about because I’m a woman,” she said.

“There have been similar clubs over the past years right here in town but the operators didn’t face any kind of challenge that I faced and I hope that this town supports women in business a lot more.

“What I went through wasn’t easy at all but I’m a fighter and I never give up.

“This investment has been set up to assist those who lost their jobs as a result of COVID and to also boost the economy in the North.”

Ms Simmons, who is originally from Labasa returned from the United States of America to reinvest into the community she grew up in.

“I just believe that women in business should be supported more because I don’t think many women would have survived the challenges I went through with this investment,” she said.

“We are on the final stages of the process and once we are open, it will mean employment and financial support for families.

“As a members of the Labasa Chamber of Commerce, I believe we should work together for the improvement of our town and help it grow for investment purposes.”

Ms Simmons — a former journalist with the Communications Fiji Ltd in the 1980s — also owns a hair salon and a massage parlor.

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