Utibe Akwa is a young graduate who took a different path from the bandwagon syndrome of Labour Market Dependency (LMD) and has proven that it pays off to sometimes be your own boss, the native of Ibiono Ibom LGA and a Post Graduate Student of Economics in the University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state began her journey into the entrepreneurial world few years ago as an undergraduate, with the production of widely-used house care products, body care products, hair care product and insecticide.
Like a butterfly stuck in a chrysalis, waiting for the perfect moment, she was waiting for the day she could burst forth and fly away and perch on the basement of fame, that moment came when her story went viral on Facebook few weeks ago when she officially launched her “Unique Milky Custard” brand, the first of its kind in the history of Akwa Ibom State.
The young entrepreneur and business woman who is into production of over 30 cosmetology products shares her inspiring story with me in this interview.
My childhood prepared me for this. The orientation I received while growing up culminated to making and shaping me into who I am today. In this respect, I may say education plays a very minimal role. This is so because education never made me this self-reliant, but the orientation I had gotten.
As far back as my primary school, I had always wanted to be an entrepreneurial mogul. I had flare for innovations and had envied some entrepreneurial kingpins like Dangote. It was here I nurtured my thought for self-dependency.
Utibe Akwa is a persistent, committed, goal-oriented fellow who executes and impacts knowledge with passion. She has HND in Business Administration and Management from Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic with an award as the best graduating student in Nov 2015. She is currently undertaking her Post Graduate(PGD) studies in Economics with The University of Uyo, Uyo. She is a Certified NIM, CPM,and undergoing ICAN program. Utibe is the youngest street Entrepreneur, a CEO of Utytrends Nig, who is into production of over 35 cosmetology products and the newly launched product “Unique milky Custard”. She teaches and offers training across the 31 LGA in Akwa Ibom state, with over 200 participants in each LGA. She is an educator, a street Entrepreneur and an Innovator.
Starting my entrepreneurial journey as a student
The yardstick is simple, and that has to do with my take-off age. It’s on record that my entrepreneurial strides began at an age as green as 13, with bead making, way back in my village, Ibiono Ibom LGA.
I had long ago started as a teenager and, and this was the yardstick for the tag “Youngest entrepreneur” and I took the giant stride into the university as well.
Being the young manufacturer of a custard brand
Unique milky Custard is my newly launched product, a Custard powder that is rich in formula (milk+sugar+salt) rich in vitamin, rich in protein. I launched this product on the 30th of March2018.
I was inspired to do this when I discovered the Gap in Custard consumption. I felt a need to address the issues and stress of buying milk and sugar after making Custard. I had to create something new, by adding these ingredients to my custard production to make it different from ordinary custard in the market. The drive behind this was to fill in the Gap.
No human venture exists without challenges. Mine is not exceptional.
One of such challenges I have faced overtime in the course of this business is finance. As the demand for this product is getting high everyday and so many super markets and shops have been demanding for my products, I am limited as I am yet to be certified with NAFDAC and SON and other relevant agencies. Another challenge is lack of machinery, getting machines for my productions as to produce in larger quantity as well as ameliorating the stress of producing it manually.
Other Projects and Activities
Aside production of unique milky custard, am also into other prospects including trainings, organizing Entrepreneurial seminars, and production of cosmetology products
The greatest reward Is that I have been able to touch lives, reaching the apex of my passion, able to affect the society in a very special way, be an inspiration to Nigeria youths and feel so fulfilled by motivating and encouraging the youths to right against dependency syndrome after graduation. My Reward also lies when I turn back to see that I have been able to trained and raised manufacturers in over 35 cosmetics products.
Yes, I nearly gave up November 2017 when I first introduced my products to the market. At this time, all colleagues of mine and friends turned to ridicule me that as the best Graduating students, I should be working in a financial institution and/or any of the multinationals, rather than producing liquid soap.
But giving up isn’t and has never been an option for me. So I poached on with the faith that my desire flies to enviable heights. Today I am there! I don’t allow myself to be worked up nor discourage, but press towards the mark .
Where I see my brand in the next next 5 years
Five years is even too much. In the next few years I see my brand to be among the best 3 producing firms in Nigeria and beyond with good equipments and qualified staff, with branches across different states in Nigeria. My Brand will be known at national and international Level.
Who and what Inspire me
My source and all strength come from the Lord our creator, the comments, encouragements and reactions of people inspire me most. My mum serves as an inspiration to me. Mostly, my unborn children and my would-be husband are my inspiration – l would always want them proud of me.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I am a woman of Rubies because I act and serve as an inspiration to many. I add value to my family, my community, my state, my nation as a whole.I kick against the syndrome of depending on government, parents and guidance for job, but I have risen to the faith of my greatness knowing very well that once the passion is right everything is possible.
Final word for young female entrepreneur
1.Determination (2) consistency and (3) Persistence. It is one thing to embark on a prospect, it’s another to remain on top gear of the prospect. That said, one would realise that the business environment in our contemporary society is thorny, unfriendly, competitive and challenging; thus, it takes only resilience, persistence and passion to sustain and thrive up to one’s aspirational levels.
Message for women all over the world
Believe and unlock the strength of a woman that lurks inside of them. Women are great creatures laced with mystifying but unfathomable strength. When tapped, this strength can change their fates and fortunes for good and dazzles the world. They should, by all means, be self-dependent and self-reliant, by creating their desired world with the strength of their God-given potential. They should do well to inculcate good virtues on their kids, which would further affect the succeeding generation.