By Ebele Orakpo

Mrs Joy Okolie is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Esvic Enterprises, a business outfit that is into skills acquisition and fashion accessories. In this chat with Financial Vanguard in Abuja recently, the graduate of Catering and Hotel Management from the Kaduna Polytechnic, speaks on her business, the challenges, and says she tries to ensure that every woman acquires at least one skill by making the training affordable. Excerpts:

What we do:

Joy-Okolie-Woman-Entreprenu“Presently, we are into skills acquisition programmes where I train women in bead-making, hat-making, ankara shoes and bags, twine bags, shoes, tailoring, hairdressing etc. We organise talk shows where we talk to women on the importance of skills, why it is necessary for every woman to have at least one skill that she can always fall back on.

I really look forward to expanding my business, to have a training centre where people can come in any time for training and you just pay a token. We try to make our training affordable,” she said.

Why women and youths need these skills:

“My reason for focusing on women and youths basically is that for the women, most men will tell you they want their wives to be housewives, they don’t want them to work and the reason is that if the wife is working, there will be nobody to take care of the children. But if you have a skill, you can operate from your house, thereby having the opportunity to still take care of your family.

“That is why I am really trying to encourage women that instead of sitting down at home doing nothing or gossiping and roaming up and down, they can use that time to learn a skill that the family can fall back on. You know there are times a man may be broke, if the wife has a skill and use it, definitely, little money will be coming in to support the family.”

Youths: “I encourage the youths to also learn a skill because it is impossible for government to provide jobs for everybody. Let us not deceive ourselves. But if you have a skill, even after your education and you cannot get a job, you can fall back on it and you will not be frustrated. And peradventure you don’t get a job, you develop yourself on the skill and you can make a living out of it. That is why I really want everybody to learn at least one skill,” she said.

Civil servants: Okolie thinks that civil servants also need to learn a skill or two. She said: “As a civil servant, you should have a skill. You discover that most civil servants after they retire get frustrated because the pension does not come when they need it. But if you have a skill, after your retirement, you can still use it. Don’t wait till you retire before you learn a skill. By the time you retire, you might be too old to learn one but if you already have one, you will just develop it and live a happy life.

Training cost:Juwelries

Asked how much the trainings cost, Okolie said: “Bead-making is N10,000 for a two-month period, but they buy all the materials because anything they make is their personal property. For ankara, we charge N15,000, for one month period, hat-making is N10,000 for one month.

The twine bag costs N10,000; tying of head-tie is N10,000. For tailoring and hairdressing, we have not decided on the price yet since we have not really started.”

Raw materials:

“We get our beads mainly from Lagos because they are cheaper and you get different varieties. The materials we use in making the ankara shoes and bags we get from our local markets here.”

Challenges:

“The major challenge we have is the cost of acquiring a venue for training. For you to really get a spacious place, is capital intensive, costing as much as N2 million. I asked myself: If I use N2 million to rent a shop, what am I going to use equip it? We need to buy sewing machines, filing machines for making shoes, dryers, weaving machines etc so by the time we use N2 million to rent the shop, what are we going to use to equip it?” she asked, noting that it has been a major challenge.

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Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.