“My campus does not yet have a canteen where students can look for something to eat and hang out at the same time. A canteen would also be a place where I can sell my home-made snacks that I currently sell directly to my friends,” said Maria, who really likes to cook and is planning to name her canteen J-Fitun, which means shooting star.
Every day, Maria, who also won the 2013 edition of Miss Culture of Timor-Leste, sells homemade wrapped rice and nagasari (banana cake) to her fellow students.
The income earned is to help my family, as my father’s condition does not allow him to work as hard as before and he is not able to manage his tailoring business as he used to."Maria Mazarela Lay, University student
Maria is assisted in her business by her family. She wakes up at 4 am every day, but she does not feel tired as she has been running this business since her senior high school years.
“The income earned is to help my family, as my father’s condition does not allow him to work as hard as before and he is not able to manage his tailoring business as he used to” said Maria.
During the examinations period, Maria reduces the amount of food she prepares so that she can focus on her exams. For her, the most important thing is to manage her time well, as she also works in product promotion during weekends, in Timor Plaza mall, for additional income.
“While I am still young, I want to do everything that I can. In addition to selling food during school days, I work during weekends. I also do freelance modelling. Furthermore, I also play an active role in the students’ senate council as a training motivator,” she said.
I am more and more enthusiastic about starting my canteen with the additional business knowledge gained during the training and counselling. I also often visit IADE to learn more about business and keep an open network with other entrepreneurs."Maria Mazarela Lay, University student
IADE programmes are supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through its Business Opportunities and Support Services (BOSS) Project. Jointly funded by Irish Aid and NZAID, the ILO-BOSS project works in partnership with IADE to deliver business development services to micro, small and medium enterprises, unlock business opportunities by developing functional value chains in specific sectors and promote better coordination and alignment of private sector initiatives.
“I am more and more enthusiastic about starting my canteen with the additional business knowledge gained during the training and counselling. I also often visit IADE to learn more about business and keep an open network with other entrepreneurs.” said Maria, who likes to play badminton and read books during her spare time.
She hopes that one day she can expand her canteen business into a restaurant, continuing her late mother’s restaurant business. Maria is also confident with her decision to become an entrepreneur.
“If I have my own business, I can be my own boss and I can create jobs for others,” she said confidently.
The article was written by Mariana Ximenes, staff of the Business Development Institute (IADE) under the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs (MECAE)