My name is Deborah and I live in a small town in Enugu. In my town, there are many small businesses. One of such business belongs to Madam Uju, who sells vegetables. She is someone I have come to know very well overtime.
Two years ago, Madam Uju was worried about the future of her business. Her suppliers were going to shut down their business. This meant she also would have to close her business or look for a new supplier fast.
I knew her family depended on her income, so, I decided to help.
I started by asking some business owners about their suppliers. Soon, I had a list of farmers in our area she could source from.
Then, it occurred to me, what if I become a vegetable supplier?
It seemed like a good idea. So, I asked my dad if I could speak to some farmers to ask if they’d be willing to teach me how to grow vegetables.
My dad agreed. He even, gave me a few pointers on how to approach the farmers. He told me to explain to them that I was thinking of growing and selling my own vegetables in order to help Madam Uju as well as my family.
One farmer agreed to teach me. He taught me about using the right soil, correct planting techniques, how to control pests and when to harvest.
After my training, my dad gave me some money to start my first vegetable farm.
At first, I only had a few vegetables to use for our family and sell to friends, but soon my farm began to flourish. This gave me the opportunity to start selling to small businesses, like Madam Uju’s.
Today, I sell to a few small businesses who then sell to the local people in our town, and we’re all benefiting from this new system.
If you have an idea – “Big or Small” – just take that first step in asking someone for help or advice. If you feel too scared or shy, write down your goal, and how you think you can achieve it. Then, face up to your fears, take a deep breath and go for it!
You might not strike gold at first, but don’t give up. I never thought I’d learn so much from a farmer or from Madam Uju, but I’ve learnt that you don’t have to look far to find a great mentor.
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