Triple bottom line | Shifting smaller businesses from informal to formal sector

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2022 witnessed the launch of “The Soleya Way”, a program to give back to the community that funded a fi nancial literacy awareness session for 20 young women entrepreneurs. Picture: SOLEYAFIJI.COM

Soleya, a management consultancy company, has dedicated itself to the aid of micro enterprises; one woman’s passion project to uplift aspiring entrepreneurs in a nation that she now calls home.

Mrs Noellie Garand, managing director of Soleya, holds a diploma in Innovation Management and two master’s degrees: one in Policy Studies and another in Development Management.

With over 30 years of international experience in her field, those Fijians who have joined hands with her have received access to a wealth of knowledge, nurture and interest in their businesses.

“Soleya is a social enterprise committed to helping micro-entrepreneurs take their business to the next level,” Ms Garand said. “That is a business model I would like to bring to the forefront for Fiji.”

“A lot of people do pro bono work in Fiji but outside the scope of their company. The minute it comes to the company it’s about self-service. Companies need a triple bottom line and social entrepreneurship is the right business model for me. You need to make money because if not, it just isn’t sustainable, but you can make money and along the way still make a difference.”

A triple bottom line model for a company emphasises the need to place social and environmental interests on par with the prosperity of the company.

From business training sessions for new entrepreneurs, designed for their specific proficiencies and realities, to offering grants and support to young business owners with a vision, Soleya has become a key supporter of several local MSMEs.

One such young man, ginger farmer Nemani Radrole says, “I count myself lucky and blessed to be in Noellie’s circle of friends, and I would like to say that Noellie has helped me in many ways I couldn’t have never imagined.”

Having heard the young entrepreneur had hoped to continue his studies in Animal Science to further his farming endeavours, Ms Garand bought him a laptop and has since approved a grant of $3000 for Mr Radrole and his business.

“It will help me prepare more land and expand my business,” he said. “I always look up to Noellie for life and decision-making advice. I very much respect Noellie. She has been family to me from the first day I met her.”

“My main objective is to shift smaller businesses from the informal sector to the formal sector because if you stay in the informal sector, you won’t be able to develop,” Ms Garand said.

The company has offered such support to small pet care business Pawfect Pets, guiding owner Razia Rashid through the process of registering her business.

“I went to groom this wonderful lady’s fur-baby where she asked me about this pet grooming business,” Ms Rashid said.

“There and then she told me that I can always ask for her assistance for my business registration and paperwork. Out of a busy schedule, she was not hesitant to help.”

The company’s paid work has been enough to sustain its pro bono projects, but Ms Garand has bigger goals.

She is in the process of compiling a portfolio to present to potential donor companies to further her work and expand her ability to uplift other business owners and dreamers.

“My funds are enough to keep me busy, but this is not about me. I have more requests than help I can offer right now. I would very much like to reach out to more micro-entrepreneurs. My objective for 2024 will be to get some funding to do more,” she said.

Soleya doesn’t limit its mission to spreading business proficiency but is also known to donate books to school libraries, believing in starting young when it comes to uplifting a nation.

“The ultimate goal of a social enterprise is to make a difference in the lives of people or the environment, and this is what we need more of.”

Soleya can be contacted through their website at https://www.soleyafiji.com

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