Young entrepreneur and newly elected Member of Parliament Rinesh Sharma hopes to use his skill set to empower more Fijians in the commerce and ICT sector.
The 29-year-old, who is the second youngest elected Member of Parliament contested under the FijiFirst banner and secured 1,705 votes in the 2022 General Election.
Speaking to FijiLive, the Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 star from Lautoka reflected on how his agriculture journey has led him into the Fijian Parliament a place he never had dreams of entering.
“Fiji today has 70 per cent of its population age below the age of 40. We’ve got a very ambitious, dynamic and hardworking young group of people today who is making what the country is today.
“So for me coming from agriculture looking at the possibilities, the potential in agriculture today has got me here in this journey from cultivating crops to cultivating other farmers and leaders.”
“This goes to show that today a 29-year-old farmer can be a Member of Parliament and serve his country at a national level. This is a clear message to the younger generations that it is possible in Fiji for any young person to make a difference. You are never too young to make a difference or you’re never too small to make a difference which I stand by.”
“Youth development is massive. You can look any sector in terms of youth development and innovation , building blue and green economy, it’s so broad right now that we can’t be so descriptive about it.”
Fiji’s first ever hydroponic farmer added that Fiji is not just the land of opportunities but it’s an ocean of opportunities.
“We have so many budding entrepreneurs, change makers, scientist, innovators that are making what Fiji is today.”
“In 2018 when I came to Fiji, I was working for agriculture, I was working in agriculture, I was advocating for agriculture, I was representing my country on basis of being a farmer in this country.”
“When I was announced as the candidate, I was away in India for my father’s surgery. I came back so I have very limited time to campaign.”
“So from 2018, I did not lose track. So when came election, I had built network. People had seen my work.”
“Young people are never too small to make a difference. We shouldn’t be defined by age but the experience, maturity isn’t defined by age but experience, how much you go through. They always say that carbon needs to go through a lot of pressure to become diamond to shine every day.”
“An opportunity to work at the national level is what FijiFirst has put out. So many parties had put out opportunities for anyone to apply. Opportunities exist in Fiji. It’s about the people and the ability to take them up, be responsible and deliver-that is the key.”
The University of the South Pacific and Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering and Technology in India gold medalist further added the challenges he endured in his journey.
“Without any challenges, there’s no success. The definition of success is when you overcome a challenge. So you should welcome challenge, look at failures as a learning curve.”
“The challenges were that when you introduce a new technology, it’s about the people at the end of the day because when there’s a Government, the business it’s about the people.”
“I had to educate a group of people. So basically if you had to get a technology then you have to push the ideas as well. That takes years and that’s what success is about. Success builds character, builds humility and that is the correct way.”
“Technology gives access, it give credibility. So based on that credibility, the 1075 people voted. It was based on this journey, the people I work with. I’m very grateful to these people who supported me. At the end of the day, business or government do anything is about people’s well being. That’s the best and only interest we all have as human beings.”
He also acknowledged his parents for their endless support and thanked his voters and the FijiFirst party for giving him an opportunity to contest in the 2022 General Election.
“There’s no short cut and you have to be very responsible, well-disciplined throughout this.”
“We just going with the flow right now and let’s see what the outcome is.”
“My parents are my pillars of strength. When I finished my scholarship in India, everyone said don’t go to Fiji because no one will hire you. I said no I’m going to Fiji because I can create job and hire myself and this is what Fiji provides.”
“Home is where the heart is. Heart is where mom and dad are. I rather be with them because they are aging so it’s about giving back.”