Essence of Fiji: a case for impact investment
What was the opportunity?
In 2018, the Founder of Essence of Fiji, Debra Sadranu approached TDi to take her business to the next level. Essence of Fiji is a Fijian natural-skin care business, established to benefit Fijian women and villages through employment and village-based seagrape harvesting. When we first met Debra she had launched her new skincare range in Fiji and wanted to expand into international markets and consolidate her local operations, but she lacked the capital to go further. She knew she needed to improve her bottom line and bring on new investment partners, but she didn’t know how to do it.
Tell us the ‘Nitty Gritty’ details…
First up, TDi spent two days conducting a ‘deep dive’ on Essence of Fiji’s business model and growth plans.
This is an intense two-day workshop which we run at the start of all our investment readiness work. Most entrepreneurs find it fairly challenging but incredibly valuable. Following the workshop, we felt confident that we could work with Debra and the team to build out a model which would be attractive to investors.
Debra was up for the challenge. Pacific RISE, DFAT’s investment readiness grant facility, agreed to fund the work and we were ready to go.
Over 12 months, we worked with Debra and her senior management team to validate Essence of Fiji’s business model and growth plans. First TDi helped to clarify the business strategy, keeping the team focused on the areas that generated the greatest financial and social return, and winding back areas that were not profitable. Then we helped the business validate and build accurate sales forecasts, based on customer feedback and market analysis. These forecasts informed the final capital required and the deal structure. We also worked with the team to set up better financial management systems and to articulate their theory of change and social outcomes measurement. The final business case was strong.
In 2019 Debra presented her investment offer to several investors and she is currently in negotiation with her chosen partner. Debra says that TDi’s support was instrumental in changing the mind sets of her team and her own mindset, and in pushing her to evaluate the financial and social return of each of her business areas. Ultimately it gave her clarity and helped her make the right decisions for her business. It also gave her options. She had interest from New Zealand angel investors, local individuals and several others.
We are looking forward to celebrate the final investment outcome with Debra and her team in 2020.