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‘I want to prove people wrong who streamline some professions to men’

A peep into the life of a female Uber driver

When Uber car business came into Nigeria a few years ago, not many thought that women could play in the industry. But some women have defied the odds and carved a niche for themselves in the industry.

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Okeke Amarachi Stephanie is one of those women.  Stephanie, who has a degree in Geography and Meteorology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and a postgraduate degree in Monitoring and Evaluation, decided to keep her certificates aside and go into entrepreneurship.

Speaking on why she chose to do that, Stephanie said: “Transportation business is very lucrative and I wanted to prove people wrong who streamline some profession to the male gender.”

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She has not only excelled in this male-dominated business but has empowered other drivers with cars to go into the business.

“On a busy day when I have a lot of clients to attend to, I try to juggle the ones I can and also get my drivers involved. I have seven drivers that work with me,” she said.

Stephanie has gone beyond being an Uber driver to car hire service.  “I am into car hire services as well. We rent cars of different brands and class for different functions like Landcruiser, Hiace, Coaster, etc, for campaigns, wedding etc.”

She said though every business has its ups and downs, with God on her side, the business has been profitable.

On the challenges she faces on the job, Stephanie said people have a wrong perception of the job of a commercial driver.

“The basic challenge we have is the African mentality of thinking this kind of business is for the poor, illiterate and the lower class. And because they perceive you that way, they talk down on you,” she said.

Stephanie, who is married and a mother of two, said she has been able to manage her business and the home front with the support of her spouse and domestic staff.

“When I am at work, I make sure I call my family constantly and have domestic staff who help at home,” she said.

For qualities that can help you succeed as a Uber driver, she said “you need patience, tolerance, self  control, dedication  and persistence. You need a strong dose of these qualities.”

Stephanie, who said she has brought some women into the business, has this piece of advice for women who want to go into the business:  “I have brought in a lot of women into the business and still encourage more to come in.  I tell them no job or business is streamlined to the menfolk. I would say whatsoever it is that is legitimate, that can earn you a living, it is worth doing.”

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