From fashion designing, hand bag making to cobbling, more women are becoming their own bosses.
Imaobong Udemei is a graduate of Marketing from Madonna University, Okija,Anambra State, where she bagged an upper class degree. During her youth service, she picked interest in fashion designing and used part of her allowance to learn the skill while serving at Port Harcourt. Today, she is the CEO if Imasignature Fashion Home which specialises in making children outfits from Ankara.
Recently, Udeme got a grant of N500,000 as the 3rd place winner in the fashion category at the just concluded Abuja Business Plan Competition organised by the Abuja Enterprise Agency. This helped her to expand her business.
Mrs Faith Joshua, a mother of four, was jobless. But she participated in a skill acquisition programme were she learnt to make handbags and shoes from Ankara. After two weeks of intensive training, Faith began to practice her new skill in her locality.
“When I got home, with the little money I had, I started making the bags and shoes. People started buying form me and telling others about me. Now, I have so many customers and I am making money from the business. I can take care of myself and also assist my husband now.
I will encourage women to go and learn skills instead of doing nothing”
Recently at the Internally Displaced Persons camp in Durumi and Karmajiji, Abuja, the Women In Da’awah, an NGO trained 184 IDPs mainly women in different skills. From tailoring, to shoe and handbag-making to GSM repairs, the women learnt different skills of their choice.
At the graduation ceremony, the vice president, Women In Da’awah Hajiya Ramatu Sani, enjoined the women to practice the skills learned with the equipment given to them so that they would be self-reliant when they go home.
One of the beneficiaries, Rahab David, who was elated, said it was the greatest thing that happened to her. “They taught some of us how to make clothes and start selling them. But I learnt how to sew and today they gave me sawing machine. I am the happiest person in the world. I will go and start business with it. I will start making clothes and selling them. Today is my happiest day,” she said.
Mrs Patience Ardey,President of Dpat Foundation and coordinating trainer of the fashion designing for the IDPs said with the skills learnt, the women have added value to their lives and can also train others in the skills they learnt.
“One woman we have trained can train 10 others. Multiply 85 women by 10 each and you know how many people you will have and those ones will go on and train others. By that we are alleviating poverty. I encourage the government to do more in training women and youths in different skills,” Ardey said.
While speaking at the just concluded skill acquisition programme organised by the agency, the Managing Director of Abuja Enterprise Agency, Malam Muhammed Tukur Arabi, said over 200 beneficiaries, mainly FCT indigenes, were trained on business management and vocational skills such as production of paint, confectionaries, shoemaking and fashion designing among others, adding that the agency was able to support 4,863 individuals and businesses in 2016.
The Permanent Secretary of the FCT administration, Dr Babatope Ajakaiye, said the administration has the mandate to ensure that its youths are engaged in economic activities, adding that the best thing that could happen to anyone is to be his own employer.
“We are glad that you have your own business that will be yielding income for you. I can assure you that the best thing that can happen to anybody is to be his own employer. That is the dream of even some of us that are civil servants,” Ajakaiye said.
Similarly, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, says the agency can create six million jobs in four years via entrepreneurship.
“Our target is to reach 500 entrepreneurs in each of the 774 local government areas in the federation. Part of the condition is that if we give you that grant, you must employ two additional entrepreneurs into your business. The target is that we will have 500,000 entrepreneurs that will benefit, and then when they employ two additional people into their business, we have 1.5 million entrepreneurs yearly,”Radda said.
Udeme agrees with this view absolutely but has this advice for every one.
For everyone, “I will say it’s good to have a skill. If you have a skill, you can support the nation. There are so many people looking for white-collar jobs but when you are self-employed and you have passion for what you are doing you will make an impact anywhere you are”.
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