Prosper Chidinma Erem, a die hard female entrepreneur had a chat with nkiruhomann’s blog on why she took to shoe making.
I picked up my never-say-die spirit of Youth entrepreneurship inherent in Aba and joined shoemaking, such that I found something that makes me happy and fulfilled.
STATE OF ORIGIN
I hail From Amangwu in udumeze Ohafia LGA of Abia State. I am currently a student of university of Port Harcourt from a middle class family of eight (8) children. Though a student unionist and the immediate past SUG vice president in the university of Port Harcourt, I made craft a part of my life.
As a young lady, I found pleasure in entrepreneurship; filling every gap of my leisure with productive engagements. My books and craft like activities took more of my time.
Firstly, I learnt how to make Ankara bags and shoes and later went into apprenticeship on shoemaking.
Before I got into the university I had started developing more interest in building Ankara shoes, thus developing more skills in building real leather shoes from the scratch both of male and female species.
MY TURNING POINT
I later went into mentorship in shoe plaza Ariaria Int’l Market Aba, and it became a routine on my holidays and weekends. My sells and advertorials were basically online until the wife of the Abia State Governor, Deconess Nkechi Ikpeazu discovered my handwork through the wife of the deputy speaker of Abia State Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe who also patronises my online adverts.
I was given an award for my hard work by the Abia State Governor and Dr. Ngozi Erondu made advertorials of my person and hard work which gave me a Leeway into public notice. The Governor, having heard of the resilience in me, outsourced me and ensured I was among those that made the trip to China for the acquisition of the necessary know-how needed to advance in automated shoemaking. Mr. Chinenye Nwaogu, the Abia focal person on youth development and Sam Hart esq were very instrumental in harnessing young talents and making them attain a feat.
EXPERIENCE IN CHINA.
Machines to build thousands of shoes in a day unlike manual were exposed to me (our group) as I had hands-on experience with them. I took the ritual a step further by learning how to operate virtually all the shoemaking machines and the Chinese people were very friendly.
MESSAGE TO NIGERIAN FEMALES AND STUDENTS
In Nigeria it has become necessary for young people to take up a vocation, develop dreams and to remain disciplined, focused and resilient for the dreams to translate into reality.
Being a student and a female is not an excuse enough not be a prosperous entrepreneur.
I conclude with the caveat that young Nigerians particularly graduates who are not yet employed should take up a skill for self development purposes and production. Such steps go a long way in face lifting and rebranding the informal labour sector known to be predominant in crafts activities which people see as a sector for the uneducated and illiterate members of the society.
However, as the Chinese industrial transformation experience seem to have defied all odds and criticisms about the informal sector, the onus lies in every Abian and by extension Nigerian to acquire a skill for full capacity utilization even as the government readily assist the course by creating an enabling environment.
I must say that this project which is a brainchild of Governor Ikpeazu is an icing in the cake in an effort in making Abia a strong economy among the comity of States as well add to the National greed, geared towards making Nigeria the giant in production. Also, Abia State Government, led by Okezie Ikpeazu (PhD) has already set the precedence by sending the first batch of trainees to China and is ever ready to do even more. This particular human capital development project by the Abia State Governor is worthy of adulation and of course he remains the only Governor in Nigeria that has rolled out such programme in this regime.
Let’s readily sell our shame and ego to make the fame.