Growing up in a farming community in Labasa, Vanua Levu, to becoming an entrepreneur at 26 years of age, Sanjesh Kumar believed in the power of his dreams and chased them wholeheartedly.
Kumar is one of Fiji's youngest entrepreneurs, and he hopes to use the company he cofounded with Mukesh Lodhia in 2017, Acton Fiji Limited, to generate jobs for young people in Fiji who share similar interests.
The realisation of the dream had already begun for the duo and their tech company. Together with Lodhia, they were the first Fijians to be listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia last year.
He credited his humble upbringing for his perseverance and dedication to his academic and business journey.
Throughout his childhood, Kumar said that solid emphasis was always placed on education.
“I was lucky to be exposed to a computer from an early age (at age 10, I think), and I learnt how to use it watching my dad.”
He said this “really spurred my interest in the technology space, and it has been among my most passionate of hobbies since,” Kumar added.
He believes that youth in Fiji and the region can be great if they give their best in all they do so that when opportunities arrive, they are in a strong position to capitalise on them.
Kumar graduated from The University of the South Pacific (USP) with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Information Systems) in 2013 and later with a Master of Computer Science by thesis.
After teaching for a while, he later took up a role in the consulting and tourism industry. During this time, he and his company cofounders began discussing the possibility of starting Acton Fiji Limited.
“In my short career, I had the privilege of working in several sectors; the experiences and learnings from these played a key role in setting me up to start on my own,” Kumar said.
Together with his company directors, he saw considerable potential in Fiji’s technological landscape, creating a technology company that employs Fiji’s very own talents in the field.
“We talked about the world class talent we have and how it was regrettable for us to continue losing our people to brain drain,” he added.
“We resolved to fix the problem and market Fiji as a formidable and competitive offshoring destination while bringing world class cutting edge cloud business solutions to Fijian businesses and people.
“So basically the inspiration behind Acton Fiji Limited came from the realisation of the brain drain problem as well as Fiji’s slow uptake of cloud business solutions.
“There was a market need for a local provider of world class enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
“Our mentor, Bradley Stroop, was a big part of the earlier days of our journey, who believed in our venture and provided us with the start up capital and ongoing coaching. He serves as a non executive chairman of our board of directors and continues to provide mentoring.”
Acton Fiji Limited intends to become a pure Microsoft shop bringing a far better and low upfront cost to the market with subscription and cloud based technologies.
It remains committed to generating employment and providing young, bright minds in Fiji with exposure to cutting edge Microsoft technology. Kumar is confident that the company will be successful in achieving what it was created for.
“The journey has been incredible and very gratifying.
“It has in no way been a smooth ride, with lots of ups and downs and various challenges, both local and international, that we have had to navigate through.
“I have had both the joys and the stresses of owning and running a technology company, and both have been thoroughly enjoyable. Every passing day takes us a step closer to our vision for Fiji, and I would not have it any other way,” he added