Jimmy Cheadi, a father of eight children from Areatakiki in Guadalcanal Province, Solomon Islands, discovered the power of “start small, think big”.

As he reflected on his journey and how he started, he smiled as he vividly shared his life story that began way back in 2008.

The idea of “start small, think big” struck him when he learned to utilize resources at home to generate income. Looking around, he noticed cassava stems lying on the ground — an opportunity waiting to be seized.

With determination, Jimmy began planting cassava on his land, working ten mounds per day for six days a week. He meticulously recorded his progress, knowing it would take about seven months for the cassava to mature. One Sunday, he harvested three mounds and took them to town. To his surprise, a lady offered him $100 for the bag. This motivated him to continue, and soon he was earning $600 weekly from selling cassava.

In 2009, Jimmy took a leap and approached Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara to supply cassava. The hotel’s GM agreed to a three-day supply, not only of cassava but also fruits and vegetables. Jimmy acted as a broker, sourcing additional items from other farmers. Despite challenges, he earned a good profit. Over four years, the hotel reduced supply days to one but maintained the partnership. Jimmy registered his business as Sailima Enterprises, meaning “Hands Together” in his dialect. This allowed direct payments into a bank account, improving financial management.

Through his business, Jimmy earned $7,000 to $10,000 per day in sales, supporting his children’s school fees. Balancing family responsibilities and hotel demands wasn’t easy. Sometimes, he had to choose between church gatherings and business trips to town. Fluctuating vegetable prices posed challenges, but Jimmy’s determination prevailed.

He achieved many milestones, ranging from purchasing vehicles, expanding into transport services, and building an eight-bedroom house. Yet, Jimmy faced a conflict that continues to bother him, as he likes to help others in need.

He mentioned, "The money-minded financial literacy training emphasized savings, but my inclination to help others led me to spend money, which was meant for the future. And participating in the ANZ Money-Minded training provided tools for better financial management. I have learnt from this training to keep records, plan investments, and save toward specific goals and I can also put aside cash to help others in need.”

Jimmy’s story signifies the importance of thriving through roots—starting small, thinking big, and making a difference. His story reminds us that success often begins with humble beginnings, a can -do attitude, and willingness to learn and adapt, that will contribute to bigger changes and transformation in business.

The story of Jimmy resonates with the focus of the Markets for Change Project, and that is, to promote gender equality by economically empowering women and men market vendors in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa.

This project, which brings together various stakeholders, offers financial literacy training that connects vendors and farmers with essential service providers. This sharing of information, raising awareness, and networking opportunities have the potential to improve the livelihoods of market vendors and their families.

The Markets for Change Project continues to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the M4C project directly contributes to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It supports SDG 5 on Gender Equality, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 10 on reducing inequalities, and SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities. The project ensures equality and economic empowerment for all, including men, women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized minority groups.

The M4C project is implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNDP and with support from the Government of Australia. Together, they are making a real difference in the lives of women and men like Jimmy, whose resilience and commitment, contributes to the sustainable economic growth in rural communities across Honiara, Solomon Islands. 


Source: UNDP Solomon Islands