Shyllon Adeola is an engineer-turned entrepreneur due to her inability to get a job. In this interview with YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE, she speaks about unemployment, getting into business, challenges of running a business and why youths should shun idleness, amongst other issues.
You are an advocate of entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment, what informed this belief?
My experience taught me that the best way to fight unemployment is to embrace entrepreneurship in whatever form one can manager. It doesn’t have to be something big but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step. I am an engineer by profession, but I am not practising my profession due to the challenge of unemployment in Nigeria; I studied to become an engineer for seven years in the university, thanks to ASUU strike. And after my NYSC, I searched for jobs for over two years but couldn’t find a tangible one because the ones I even got, the pay was too small.
I consequently fell back on what I enjoy doing most; business, I had always been selling all sorts of fashion items when I was in the university; I was known as a trader that sells accessories ranging from clothes, shoes, jewellery, bag, hair, etc. The truth is that I was jack of all trades and a master of all.
So, unemployment sent me back to that and that was how I started my business. And that was how what is now known as House of Ameary pearl was birthed. If I had not embraced entrepreneurship, I may still be roaming the streets in search of a job now.
How easy is it to start a business?
I will say it has its challenges just like any other endeavour; there is nothing that doesn’t have its challenges. Even when you work for others, you will still face challenges, so it is determination, perseverance and hard work that is required. I also went through diverse challenges and I used to sell all sorts before settling on gold solely.
So you believe that entrepreneurship is the way to go if one is unable to get a job?
Basically, I will say yes, but I will add that having skills is very important. It is quite necessary to understand what you really want to venture into; and at the same time, not everyone can become an entrepreneur, some people discover their full potential working under someone and can’t just put a business of their own together. I am a very strong advocate of entrepreneurship though. Even if you are not cut out for entrepreneurship, you can make a business out of something you like and focus mainly on service delivery, sell the skill you have rather than stay idle.
You think everyone has something marketable?
Yes, there is something deposited in every human divinely that they can use to make something. You cannot hide under unemployment to be idle; there is something in you that is marketable in every individual. No matter how difficult it looks, once the desire is there, you will break even. I think it is time we all sensitise ourselves.
What are the challenges you encounter?
For a sole business like mine, especially one that runs majorly online, my major challenge is having to literally do everything all by myself, posting goods, taking orders and having them sorted out for delivery. This is because my business is a very delicate one, it is really not easy.
Another challenge has to do with attending to all my customers at the same time, if you spend too much time with one, another will complain that you are ignoring him or her.
To crown it all, the business is capital-intensive and it is difficult to get financial support, especially when you are starting out. No one wants to take the risk and bank loans are not feasible, aside the fact that they are difficult to get, the interest rate is too high for a small business. So one has to brave it and take things step by step. You can’t start out too big else everything might crumble around you but everything is possible if you set your mind to it.
Do you think youths have leadership potential?
Of course, they have. But many are limited because they are still dependent on others for survival. To explore your potential, you must have something that you are doing. It is important for youths to aspire for independence financially; we are not talking of becoming an overnight millionaire but being able to meet their basic needs on their own.
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