SATURDAY 4th December 2021: Mafoa ‘a e Ata Breakfast catch up
A beautiful morning at Waves Café, Nuku’alofa, where the Mafoa ‘a e Ata participants gathered to interact with each other and share more upon business and innovation challenges.
We are grateful for the presence of Mrs. Sela Bloomfield (Lawyer, Solutions Consulting House – partner of the Mafoa Ae Ata Program) who took a bit of her time to share some of her understanding upon challenges people face in the private sector. Mrs Bloomfield expressed that she is beyond happy that there are young entrepreneurs that are being nurtured by the Mafoa ‘a e Ata Innovation Challenge because “it is really important that you are provided with the right tools”, she stated.
Mrs Bloomfield shared about the challenges private sector faces but at the same time showed her understanding upon the government’s point of view upon business licensing, regulations, etc. She voiced that “sometimes starting up a business in Tonga can be difficult”. Her reasons was because youths that are not fed with the right information may be confused on where and how to start, also where to get support. She highlighted the importance of networking with one another and if there is any information needed upon starting up a business, she is happy to help.
She ended her discussion with the Mafoa ‘a e Ata participants by sharing how pleased she is to be part of the Mafoa ‘a e Ata Innovation Challenge process. She wished everyone their best and showed her support by looking forward for more programs TYEE is organizing in the future. Mrs Lusia Latu-Jones (Director of TYEE) acknowledged Mrs Bloomfield time with the entrepreneurs and was thankful for her presence and sharing.
The Mafoa ‘a e Ata participants later sat and shared upon their personal challenges as youth entrepreneurs while being served breakfast. Ms. Kasanita ‘Ofa (Mafoa ‘a e Ata participant, Owner of Sissy Shoetique) shared upon her challenges with time management. How she struggles with balancing her time at work and with managing her small business at home. She ended with sharing that she’s still practicing managing her time wisely and prioritizing what’s more important to her which is her small business.
On the other hand, Ms. Christy Lavulavu (Mafoa ‘a e Ata participant, Owner of Etas Creation) showcased her struggles with having little to no sleep with her work schedule. As she elaborated more upon her struggle as a sole trader, everyone in the room voiced out ways to help her. Ms. Lavulavu shared that she has been running around to meet the needs of her customers that sometimes she lacks sleep. “I need a hand with what I do, sometimes I only have 3 hours of sleep, and then I’m up and work 16 hours a day”, she added.
The participants all shared ways on how to help Ms. Lavulavu with their personal entrepreneurial experiences. “Your mind is your greatest asset, you need to let it rest”, Ms ‘Ofa voiced. Ms. Lavulavu has been having difficulty with her stress level as an entrepreneur that she was advised to off her cell phone and enjoy her breakfast while listening to everyone’s helping advice. Mrs. Jones expressed the importance of having to prioritize health while being an entrepreneur. “Your health is more important than money, take care of yourself or else you’re going to end up running yourself down”, she stated.
Being stressed plays a part in the entrepreneurial world. The way we handle it is important to practice. Everyone in the room shared upon their individual ways of dealing with stress and it was refreshing to hear. “Always have someone to share what you’re stressed about, don’t let it affect you, share it to your mum”, Ms. ‘Ofa expressed. “Sunday is the day when I practice ‘me time’, I make sure to off my phone, play music and cruise around with my friends to the beaches and distress”, Ms. Lavinia Fehoko (Mafoa ‘a e Ata participant) added. Ms. Lavulavu seemed relieved by the advices the participants and Mrs. Jones shared with her.
It was a beautiful morning. Everyone walked in blissful, some walked in stressed. But at the end of our Mafoa ‘a e Ata breakfast sharing session, everyone left relieved, but most importantly, everyone left with a valuable lesson. Always have time for yourself.
The Mafoa ‘A e Ata – Youth Innovation Challenge Program is proudly brought to you by Tonga Youth Employment & Entrepreneurship Inc. (TYEE) in collaboration with our Partners - Breadfruit Consulting Port Villa, Vanuatu, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)’s Pacific Green Entrepreneurship Network (PGEN) and supported by Solutions Consulting House in Nuku’alofa.