TIME OUT WITH ANTHONIA OBIORA

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One of the things that fascinate me is entrepreneurship. I think it fascinates me in a very special way. I’m awed by entrepreneurs – those special people who would rather happen to life than wait for life to happen to them. Those strong people who make demands on life and don’t wait on life for crumbs. I love to hear them talk, to rub minds with them and to learn from them. And one thing is certain, there is always something to learn from them.

Today, I will be sharing an interview with a friend of mine, someone who is doing something to help entrepreneurs and from her I have learnt more about barcodes – what they mean and their benefits. My friend is Anthonia Obiora (Nee Ejeteh) and she is working entrepreneurs on packaging and accessing barcodes for their products.

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Who is Anthonia Obiora?
I am an entrepreneur and business developer.  I am an avid supporter of youth and women empowerment. I have a degree in Business Administration, I also ran a course on ‘Innovation for entrepreneurs from idea to market place’ at the University of Maryland, USA.

What do you do?
I am a consultant in an ICT firm and in that role I offer consultancy services to youths who are small business owners, train them on how to use modern technologies to enhance their businesses and give them an edge over competitors.

I also double as Executive Director of Young Africans Empowerment and Development Initiative (YAEDI), a duly registered organisation at the Corporate Affairs Commission with the aim and objective of raising the profile of Nigerian Youths and African Women.
My dream is to see women and youths succeed, because the joy of a woman is the joy of a nation.

Can you expatiate on the activities of your organisation?
Young Africans Empowerment and Development Initiative (YAEDI) as the name implies is an organisation that engages in activities relating to all forms of entrepreneurship and youth development projects towards the development and sustainability of Africa as a whole. Our slogan is  “Africa Must Survive.” We focus mainly on the informal sector of the economy. This is because we believe that for  any nation to attain high level of development and sustainability, the informal sector would have been seriously looked into and taken very serious.

Our organisation also focuses on entrepreneurship because entrepreneurship cannot be over emphasized. There is need for individuals to seek financial freedom and this can be done by encouraging, supporting and financing the small and medium scale businesses.

We provide weekly, monthly and part time jobs for our trained marketers, sales representatives, brand promoters/exhibitors, run way models etc.

Quarterly, we run free skill acquisition programs of about 20 different courses for our members who are willing and convinced that owning their own businesses is the key to financial freedom. After training them, we go further through mentorship, teaching them business management skills, international product packaging standard, monthly review/check – ups.

How many  youth have benefited from your programmes?
About 200 members have benefited in Abuja where we are based, while about 300 members have benefited in other states of the federation.

There is a barcode awareness and sensitization you are working on. Please shed more light on that.
We came up with an initiative to encourage small businesses/local producers get their products to look appealing to Nigerians and also meet international standards, and that amongst other things requires that they get barcodes for their products. Barcodes, we know, are used to automate supermarket checkout systems and in the Nigeria of today where malls and retail outlets are springing up by the minute, no manufacturer would love to miss out of the opportunity of having his products in all the stores.

We went further to pay 70% of the cost of the barcodes to enable these business owners afford them. To benefit from this, all that the small business owner needs to do is call us (Indexpro Solutions Ltd) now on 08036838166, 07062359497 and 08036651806

We are working closely with Park ‘n’ Seals Ltd to sensitise more Nigerians in getting  it right in the packaging aspect of their businesses. Our collaboration with Park ‘n’ Seals Ltd also covers making of packaging materials ranging from bottles, befitting plastic containers, necessary vacuum and sealers, wonderful design and label layout etc readily available and at subsidised prices.

How can the government come in?
Government should create an enabling environment for NGOs like ours, they should support our programmes. They should also provide necessary facilities and amenities necessary to survive in the informal sector as that is where we lay more emphasis on.

Final words
We also like to use this opportunity to call on well meaning Nigerians to join us to give back to our community and make it a better place to live in for our members who are mainly unemployed women and youths. We are open to partnership and supports from individuals, organisations and agencies within and outside Nigeria. We can be reached via email: info@yaedi.org or by phone: +2348036651806.

I am @seunalade

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