Sukul excels as entrepreneur in niche medical sector

Keshvi Lal SukulGrowing up in Sigatoka, young Keshvi Lal Sukul’s favourite past time was watching crime fiction television programs such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation where investigators deduced crime by analysing evidence in state of art laboratory facilities.

This much loved past-time ritual slowly developed into something more serious as Sukul grew older and began to set her career goals.

“My father is a doctor and because of that I was familiar with the medical field. I knew I would work in that field in the future but not particularly as a doctor.  That and my love of crime fiction made me chose medical lab science as a career path,” she said.

Today, Sukul is a multi-awarding winning successful entrepreneur and mentor to budding medical lab techs.

Sukul owns and operates the Health Plus Diagnostic Centre, a Medical Science Laboratory which provides Blood Tests and Ultrasound services. The Centre is based in Nabua with branches in Nadi and Sigatoka.    

Sukul is the eldest of two siblings. Her father is a medical doctor by profession while her mother is a retired banker.

Education and Career

She attained her primary education from Saint John of Arc Primary School and her secondary education from Sigatoka Methodist College.

Sukul began her journey to being a Medical Lab Technician in 2007 at the Fiji School of Medicine (FSM), now FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS).

She came to Suva having left her family in Sigatoka however, it did not take her long to adapt and start enjoying her tertiary days. Being a cheerful soul, it was easy enough for Sukul to make friends and forge lifelong friendships which she still cherishes.

“My uni days were the best. I made a lot of friends with whom I am still in contact with and it feels great to have a wide network of friends across the Pacific; from the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands as well as from East Timor,” said Sukul.

She graduated in 2010 and was immediately posted to Lautoka Hospital where she served as a Laboratory Technician for two years. Following this, she was transferred to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva where she worked for an additional three years mostly in the Hematology and Biochemistry departments.

During this time she chose to further her education at The University of the South Pacific and attained a Post Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management (HRM), a Post Graduate Diploma in HRM and later a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

In August 2016, she made a tough choice and resigned from her job. She decided to start her own Medical Laboratory which she opened in September 2016 in Nabua.

Her initial days were challenging.

“All medical labs in Fiji are male owned. As a woman things get challenging. Women are mostly perceived as not knowing anything. People forget that you are an intelligent woman; an educated woman. It took me some time to penetrate the barrier and get people to have confidence in me specially the GPs as these are the people we rely on for recommendations,” said Sukul.

She has immense support from her husband and family which allows her to dedicate time to her business. Sukul is married with two daughters. She met her husband at FSM where both were studying.

Following the success of her Nabua lab, she opened two more labs: one in Nadi in and one in Sigatoka.

Sukul plans to extend her labs providing more services that are technologically enhanced.

“I love to keep up to date with technology so my plan for the next five years is to provide more and better services to the people so that health care is better and more accessible for people,” she said.

“FSM provided a very strong foundation which I have built my career upon. The lecturers were well reputed and highly qualified. I believe when the foundation is strong everything you do after that just falls into place,” she said.

Business Awards

Her hard work was rewarded when she received two awards for her achievements. The first award she received was at the Women in Business (WIB) Awards 2018. She was awarded the Women in Business Aspiring Entrepreneur of the Year Award. These Awards honour Fiji’s outstanding businesswomen who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their business or profession and in their service to the community.

Following this she received another award at the 2018 Fiji Development Bank (FDB) National Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Awards held in February 2019. This award is for the recognition of SMEs that are innovative and those that are community champions. She was awarded the FDB – SME Youth Entrepreneur of the Year.

Words of Wisdom

Sukul’s key message to the students is to maintain a work life balance.

“While you study it is very important to focus on studies of course as this is the primary purpose but apart from that it is very important to build lifelong friendships because once you graduate and start working it could become a very lonely world. At the end of the day you should have someone to sit with or talk to and share your life with. If you don’t you are losing a lot in life,” she said.

For fresh graduates, Sukul has two tips.

“Have passion for the job. If you don’t have that, you will never excel,” she said.

“It is important to realise that everyone starts small. No one can start at the top. You have to start small and go to where you aim to. Have an aim and work towards it and you shall succeed,” she added.

Her success story is a testament to these beliefs.