EDITOR’S NOTE: The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Forum (NACA) late last year pegged the rate of unemployment in Nigeria at 23.1% in a report published by Nairametrics and attributed the reason to lack of employment opportunities and shut down of many industries in the country. Yearly, Nigerian universities and other institutions of higher learning churn out graduates who add up to the already congested labour market. Most of higher institutions in the country have no programmes that prepare students to be self-employed after graduation. The rate of unemployment in 2020 is on the increase with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, and NACA had earlier predicted it might be as high as 33.5%. There are, however, some Nigerian youths that are employing themselves by engaging in decent business venture and earning income amidst various challenges. ISAAC ADEONIPEKUN OMOLE interviewed Ms Khadijah Omotayo Ore, a 300-level student of Mass Communication who runs a successful baking business in Kwara State on how she is able to combine her education and business.
Can you tell us your name and what you do?
My name is Khadijah Omotayo Ore. I'm a student and also an entrepreneur. A baker, precisely.
Where do you come from, and where do you study?
I'm from Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. I'm a 300-level student of Mass Communication in Kwara State University, Malete, Kwara State. I'm 21 years’ old. I am from a family of six—the last born of the family.
How did the idea of your business come about and what was your key driving force to becoming an entrepreneur?
The idea of my business started from it being something I just had passion for, so let me simply say that it is 'passion-driven'.
How did you raise capital for your venture?
Through the help of my parents.
That’s very good of them. How did you build your customer base and how do you market your business?
Social media platforms have become the order of the day, especially in terms of publicity, so I use them in marketing my business. I also try to relate well with people I come across with. I tell them what I do and I advertise it well, so I get my customers like that.
How do you feel being an entrepreneur?
Well, it is a good thing to know you have a business and it's doing pretty well. I love what I do.
Wow, that’s lovely. Considering the fact that you are a student, how do you balance academics, personal life and being an entrepreneur?
I don't allow my business to affect my academics. My academics is my primary assignment and I ensure that I strike a balance between being a student and being an entrepreneur.
That’s so great. What are your greatest fears as an entrepreneur?
Not being able to market well, losing customers because of poor communication and, of course, the thought of the business crashing.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When I get pleasant feedback from customers.
Were there times you felt like giving up?
What's your view about being a young entrepreneur in Nigeria? Does Nigeria really allow entrepreneurship thrive?
Of course entrepreneurship thrives in Nigeria. It is for those who take the bull by the horns, hustling legally against all odds. We all know the situation of the country concerning employment for youths.
What challenges do you face being an entrepreneur?
My staff and I face a lot of challenges, mostly from customers. Imagine a customer that books a cake worth of N10, 000 and then insists on paying #6,000. You will have to persuade, explain and even beg some customers as the case may be.
What has been your greatest inspiration as an entrepreneur?
What inspires me most as an entrepreneur is being self-employed. I do my things my way. And I make sure I don't regret my decisions.
What do you have to say about the spate of youth unemployment in Nigeria and the need for youths to find something doing?
We youths of nowadays should please find something meaningful to do with our precious time. Youths should engage themselves in things they know how to do best. No one is waiting on the government anymore for job opportunities. Being self-employed is now the order of the day; even those employed are also into entrepreneurship. Youths should be innovative and borrow a leaf from that.
What advice do you have for fellow Nigerian youths?
What can I say? It's never easy to start a business. Whatsoever you might want to venture into, it's never easy. You have to pray over it, take risks and try to expand more on your knowledge of what you know already about the business. Above all, we should also be prayerful in all our endeavors and we should move closer to God because He alone can make everything and anything possible. May He answer all our prayers.
Wow, that’s a strong one. It’s been amazing speaking with you, Ms Khadijah. Thank you!
The pleasure is all mine.