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Seychelles' Aquaman Supplies makes waves at Bali blue economy forum |10 November 2023

Seychelles' Aquaman Supplies makes waves at Bali blue economy forum

Ms Victor at her stand in the exhibition

From October 6-13, 2023, Nella Victor of Aquaman Supplies represented Seychelles at the Blue Start-Ups exhibition, a side event of the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) forum in Bali, Indonesia. In an interview with Seychelles NATION, Ms Victor shared insights into her participation and the impact it had on her business.


Seychelles NATION: What motivated you to join the Blue Start-Ups exhibition?

NV: I learned about the event from the Division of Science Technology and Innovation, and the prospect of showcasing in Bali appealed to me. Given the 24-hour submission deadline, I seized the opportunity to spotlight Aquaman Supplies. Although the response was not immediate, I was later informed of my selection, which came as a surprise but offered significant exposure for my enterprise.


Seychelles NATION: Can you tell us about Aquaman Supplies?

NV: It is a venture born from our fishing experiences. We add value to our catch, catering to busy individuals who lack the time to shop for seafood. In modern Seychelles, with smaller family units, our ready-prepared seafood offers convenience. Moreover, it challenges local fishermen to rethink direct sales without middlemen, promoting value addition within their trade and encouraging sustainability.


Seychelles NATION:What products did you highlight at the exhibition?

NV: The exhibition's space constraints limited my display to salted fish and a new product, a jarred tuna with local coconut oil. Our focus was on fish, pivotal to Seychelles' blue economy, and on demonstrating to women, the sector's opportunities. The unique, less processed fish offerings were well-received, differentiating from the typical canned tuna and presenting a healthier alternative.


Seychelles NATION: Would you recommend international exhibitions to other entrepreneurs?

NV: Absolutely. Exposure is invaluable. It is a gateway to potential investors interested in your business ethos, seeking to foster change. Such platforms provide networking opportunities, elevating Seychelles' visibility and facilitating potential partnerships and collaborations.


Seychelles NATION: What about the facilities provided for you at the exhibition, how were they?

NV: Before we went there, they would ask us what are some of the products that we would like to bring and I had a lot of products to showcase but there were no facilities such as freezers, because fish is delicate, and my transit was a little long. It took me two days to arrive. Once you arrive, there is just a small desk and you mainly have to use posters and pictures. When we talk about the blue economy, it is vast, and it is not only things like recycle, there is fishery so there should be provisions made for things like that.


Seychelles NATION: What are the advantages of having local exhibitions for smaller businesses?

NV: Local exhibitions would be a boon for small businesses in Seychelles, easing the challenging process of market entry for startups. Such events could highlight those in the blue economy and related sectors, including fishermen and tourism students. They would attract external investors to local talent, potentially transforming innovative ideas into reality. The roots of the AIS in Seychelles, before expanding internationally, suggest a fertile ground for such initiatives.


Seychelles NATION: What is the outlook for Aquaman Supplies in the wider market?

NV: While the exposure at the Bali forum was beneficial, it fell short of attracting investors. I hope for stronger ties between our business community and the Ministry of Blue Economy, leveraging their relationship with the AIS. Collaborations and agreements that provide reviews and funding from investors would be invaluable. It is important to note that support is not always financial – sometimes what is needed is equipment or other material assistance.

If there is more dialogue with the relevant ministries and small businesses, this is what can be a good change for us. I am grateful that we had this opportunity to get exposed worldwide, that people know that I am a woman and it is empowering to other women. There is a lot of roles that women can play in the blue economy.


Seychelles NATION: Can you elaborate on this a little bit?

NV: For example, when we were finished with the exhibition, we filled out a review based on the forum and what we would like to fix. In general, though, we did not get any reports based on things like if investors would like to invest in things like the blue hub, small incubators, we have not received a report on that.

I did not go to just represent Aquaman Supplies, I went to represent my country and so if I reached there that means there is an importance for small businesses, and it means that we are having an impact locally. That being said, if there are local investors or local ministries that can approach and collaborate with us it would be a good thing. Lack of collaboration is what can make small businesses fall by the wayside but if you see us playing an important role overseas, we should be approached locally to see how we can be assisted.


Sunny Esparon

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