Elizabeth’s Story of Entrepreneurship and Determination
BY CHRIS ALEX
24-year-old Elizabeth Ratu who made her way to become an entrepreneur and manageress of the Lokol Impact, a local fabric printing business, recently bagged the 2022 Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands (YECSI) Improved Female Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Elizabeth received her award thanks to her hard work and determination to unlock her entrepreneurial ambition in the fabric printing business and also to build socially responsible businesses within her childhood community of Mbokonavera One in Central Honiara.
“Yes, I am really happy to receive the award as the ‘YECSI Most Improve Female Entrepreneur of Year’ and am glad to have my two sisters and Uncle Jeff Ratu for their rendered support,” she told SOLOMON WOMEN.
YECSI’s vision is to actively nurture a community of young entrepreneurs that will contribute to the social, and economic development of the Solomon Islands in the future.
Thus, Lokol Impact is a family-owned business founded in 2020 by Elizabeth Ratu and her other two sisters, thanks to the talent and creativity of their uncle, Jeff Ratu, a print designer who is also responsible for the production line of the business.
“When I noticed my uncle Jeff’s potential in printing, the idea of starting up a business was the first ice breaker, I just want to make something out of his talent so that we can get income out of it,” Elizabeth from Malaita province said.
Lokol Impact which is situated at the roadside at Mbokonavera One currently delivers end-to-end services to its local customers from design to the printing of t-shirts, handbags, dresses, trousers, billboards, and many more.
As a young female local entrepreneur, Ratu described the journey of the small fabric printing business as tough from the start.
“It’s not so easy to start something (business) with little capital, your time, patient, and dedication are very much needed,” she said.
As part of their long-term goals, they’re now looking into developing the small business into a bigger one to accommodate the huge demand from customers as their products and services become demandable in and around Honiara.
For now, they are planning on improving the working environment and space of their business setup.
“We have been through a lot of challenges and hardships at the beginning but despite those challenges, we manage to walk through, this because of our great effort in working together in partnership and also the confidence to move forward.
“As customers demand continues to increase, we see it as an opportunity to grow the size and quality of our services, especially to provide customers with the best possible outcome,” she said.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Ratu currently works as a sales and marketing person at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC).