Women in ICT Business Entrepreneur – Shaunalee Katafono

Shaunalee Katafono

Shauna is a Marine Science graduate from the University of the South Pacific.

She completed her Bachelor of Science in Marine Science degree in 2014 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Science later in 2018.

Before moving to Fiji in November 2016, she worked as a Fisheries Compliance officer in the Offshore section of the Fisheries Division for Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF).

Her work in this area focused mainly on monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement (MCSE) activities which often included dockside boarding inspections of fishing vessels to check compliance against national and regional fisheries-related regulations; licensing of domestic and foreign fishing vessels; collection of catch log sheets and updating relevant fisheries database management systems.

Shauna started TraSeable Solutions Pte Ltd, a traceability tech company, with her husband Ken in October 2017. They saw an opportunity to help improve the Fisheries sector in the Pacific given the need for digitisation of paper-based processes, accurate reporting, and transparency and traceability of seafood products leaving the Pacific for international markets.

There were no traceability technology companies operating in Fiji or across the Pacific at that time so they decided to utilise their ICT and fisheries experience to venture into the world of entrepreneurship.

Despite having no experience running a business, they knew they had the right skills and knowledge about the industry and could learn the entrepreneurial skills quickly along the way to make a positive impact.

Since her entrepreneurship journey started, Shauna would often find herself being the only female in a room filled with males during business meetings.

Experiencing this made her more determined to persevere in their business venture, especially as a businesswoman at the forefront of a tech company working in male dominated industries like fisheries and agriculture.

This has also helped her become more supportive of other women entrepreneurs, sharing with them the lessons she’s learned as an entrepreneur.

This year Shauna has been involved in several workshops to do with technology, women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship.

She was a participant at Pacific Connect’s network dialogue that was held in Brisbane in June with the theme ‘Pacific Women Entrepreneurs – Technology Influencers’.

She has been a part of the Pacific Connect community since then and will also be attending another Pacific Connect Ideas Exchange program that will be held in Sydney on 17-19 September, 2019.

Her involvement at the first Pacific Connect dialogue sparked a personal interest in building new networks and collaborating with other women entrepreneurs, specifically women tech entrepreneurs working in the areas of fisheries, agriculture and community development.

Soon after this dialogue, Shauna was invited to be a panelist during a session on ‘Leveraging the power of ICT for women entrepreneurs’ at a national consultation on ‘Catalysing women entrepreneurship in Fiji’.

Having bootstrapped her business with her husband, Shauna offers a unique perspective of being a proud Pacific Island woman at the forefront of innovative technology in the Pacific.

She offers entrepreneurial insights based on experience into the challenges and opportunities available in the Pacific and shares their experience in founding a tech startup that has gained international recognition for their work in the seafood traceability space.

Regardless of her Marine Science background, Shauna has gained deep insight into how technology can be used for good and to address challenges faced in the Pacific Islands.

Shauna is proof that you don’t have to have a tech background to be a tech innovator.

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