USP student Siwan Narayan (2nd from right) is one of the first five successful recipients of Fiji's YES, awarded by the Honourable Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
A student of The University of the South Pacific (USP) is one of five winning entrepreneurs who had their applications for the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) pre-approved and announced by the Honourable Mr Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji’s Prime Minister at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on 11 January 2018.
Mr Siwan Shachin Narayan, earmarked to graduate this March with a degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronics) - aspires to launch a business to construct “tiny homes”, to expand access to affordable housing options for the Fijian people.
In his keynote address, Hon. Bainimarama confirmed that the recipients have already begun the programme of mentorship through the YES initiative, and that will continue over the next month.
“Afterwards, they will all be eligible to receive grant funding of up to $20,000 to pursue their business ideas. We all look forward to watching their businesses grow here in Fiji and one day, hopefully, far beyond our shores,” he said.
“These young people have been selected by the YES judging panel after demonstrating that they not only have great business ideas, but that they have a game plan to turn those ideas into profitable businesses,” he stated.
Hon. Bainimarama said, “We want our young people to do more than sit at the same desks in the same offices that we use today. Our youth should not only be job seekers, but they also need to be job creators that provide their fellow Fijians with new and exciting opportunities”.
“We want our young people to think outside the box, and make Fiji a hub of innovation for the Pacific, and the world. We want them to be leaders in business, civil society and government, putting their ideas at the forefront of Fiji’s development, with their entrepreneurial spirit carrying our nation into the future,” he shared.
“That is what the YES initiative is all about. At the heart of this programme is a profound belief in the unique perspective brought by young Fijians and in their understanding of what our marketplace needs, both now and in the years ahead. It is about giving life to the ideas of smart and ambitious young people and to shake up Fijian society with their dreams for what is possible,” Hon. Bainimarama further stated.
Siwan explained that his business proposal was in regards to construction focusing mainly on tiny house movement schemes.
“I want to do this because ever since I was a child, I worked with my dad who is a carpenter, I have experienced a lot and it is my dream to pursue a career in construction,” he shared.
Siwan believes that every individual should have a goal in life and work hard towards achieving that goal. He added that listening to business ideas shared by his peers really motivated him.
“What is different about my business is that tiny houses of around 300-500 square feet as opposed to large houses of 1000-2000 square feet are not only affordable but the cost of maintenance is not much,” he explained.
“Tiny houses also do not take up that much land space as land is scarce right now and at least people can use available land to grow their own vegetables,” he said.
On how his project will assist the Fijian economy, Siwan explained that it would create jobs and he is looking at employing school drop-outs who have the ability to work and attend further training.
“For any business venture, we need money and capital and I am thankful to the Government for mentoring and advice that will equip us with the necessary skills and knowledge as we are all new to this,” he added.
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