Marine Product exporter shares Covid-19 story
BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
“NEVER give up on what business initiatives you do for survival, because COVID-19 is not here to stay, it is only here for a matter of time, but your business and yourself are here to stay,” these are the words of indigenous female Marine Product exporter, Rachel Rahii.
Mrs Rahii who had seen her busines crippled by the Covid-19 pandemic this week tailored her story to the Sun weekend paper on how the pandemic affected her Marine Product export business, especially focusing on exporting coral.
She is the owner of the locally owned Marine Product export business called Wisdom Enterprises on East Henderson. The business has been in operational for almost 11 years.
Rahii said she is no exception when it comes to the impacts of Covid-19, and has been harshly affected by the global pandemic like other businesses.
“Having impacted by Covid-19 and cyclone Harold in 2020, we have scaled back on our employment opportunities and can manage to hire only three women and one unemployed youth on a casual basis.
Despite this pandemic we have set our mind on a recovery strategy for 2021 through to 2022, that will not only counter the negative impacts but provide the best growth opportunities available to us through the trade platforms online.
Also, in spite of the economic down turn, the opportunities and technologies available are astounding; therefore, our current recovery strategy is to increase our online presence. We are using a combination of B2B, B2C and will be developing a trading website. We are embarking on a strong online marketing presence on trade websites such as go 4worldbusiness, Global Trade Alliance and social media such as Facebook and are slowly rolling into Instagram.
“We believe in equal opportunity for all. Initially, we were established to buy and export dead clamshell shells, but have since evolved into what we are today. We buy corals from locally endorsed reef owners, process the corals and export them overseas to countries such as Australia, USA, Greece and our latest inclusion is France. Our corals are legally and sustainably harvested, and we supply on a consistent basis.
We pride ourselves in supplying some of the most unique and beautiful corals and boast ourselves in providing the experience of the underwater world of the pacific in your own homes,” she said.
Mrs Rahii said in coral business, apart from the direct competition on the international level, such as from Indonesia and Fiji who holds the world record for the highest and second highest country of export (respectfully). Wisdom Enterprises also competes with fabricated corals made from synthetic materials not to mentioned the local competition that is coming from local established business trading in dead or raw coral exports.
“Assessing how far we have come; our strength lays in being able to adapt to changing business climate. And ride on those changes as is evident with the changing means of marketing and selling to customer using B2B and B2C platforms. Therefore, in 2021 to 2022, we are embarking on increasing our online presence which means developing a marketing website and subscribing to and registering with trade websites.
In doing business on the global scene, we need to protect ourselves from risks associated with trading globally, and so we have assessed our commercial risk, political risks, and market and payment risks and we have decided to put in place Credit risk assurance, financing options that will not only ensure success in business but also guide us against the volatile business environment out there. New sales contracts have been drawn for better payment terms and better financing options that are favorable to boosting productivity. In light of what has transpired out of Covid19 is the risk associated with health problems which created the need to go online,” she said.
Rahii said there have been strategies, goals and objectives identified by the business for the next two years. Also, the resources and needed skills to be accomplished.
“We are also looking at rebranding the coral brand to “Solomon Coral” that is legally and sustainably harvested. Registering this brand name- sells the best, do not compete on price
“I would like to say, we must not forget that God has seen our struggles and despair. For me what keeps me motivated and going each day during the pandemic is the word of God that is planted inside of me. I hold on to his Word and keep believing in him for a greater future,” she said.
Mrs Rahii coral exporting business is legal as it was approved by the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and authorized responsible partners of the Ministry.