Ana was raised in Taveuni, Fiji, a place called the ‘garden islands’ for its untouched and spectacular beauty. Kava, a drink made from the crushed root of the kava plant, has been drunk in traditional ceremonies on Taveuni for centuries. As a young woman, Ana found her way to the Fiji mainland in search of work, and brought a love of her island home and its traditions with her.
About her business:
In 2020, Ana lost her job along with many other Fijians. She took $1000 from her superannuation and made an order of kava from Taveuni. With no formal business training, she started Kavalicious Taveuni, a wellbeing focused venture that processes, packages, and resells the raw kava product.
Ana’s passion is to give back and create opportunities for the community that raised her. Through her business, she supports the income of family and friends who are kava growers. Ana also believes in sustainable business and farming practices, which she integrates into the day-to-day operations of Kavalicious.
Ana has gone from strength to strength since becoming a part of the yher Fiji program in 2022. yher’s tailored support and mentorship supported Ana as she identified new and innovative kava products to add to her range, including kava cookies and kava candies. The showcase event helped broker connections to buyers locally and abroad, and these new kava products are now being stocked at the Duty Free shops at Nadi’s International Airport. This year, she was selected as the only woman and only iTaukei (indigenous) person to attend the Fiji Investment Trade Mission to Australia.
Ana has also been a participant in pilot training for a new digital payment wallet being created in a partnership between ygap, Mastercard, the Australian Government and Fintech Pacific. Recently, Ana returned to the yher Fiji 2023 program to pass on her wisdom and advice to a new cohort of 12 exciting women entrepreneurs working in the space of sustainable tourism.
yher Fiji taught Ana that there is “no harm in asking for help, thinking outside the box and being strong in yourself”. At the program graduation, Ana’s peers described her as having arrived as quiet as a mouse but leaving like a lion roaring.
“I have come out of my shell, to lead and run meetings, and manage a team — now, I’m confident!…I will always acknowledge ygap. Because of you, I am doing this. I give credit to yher for letting me think outside the box. I want to see how far I can go with business, [be a] role model and motivate young women entrepreneurs. For the big big help of yher program I’m grateful”
Learn more about Kavalicious Taveuni here. To learn more about ygap and what we do, head to www.ygap.org.