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Obianuju Chukwuji Joseph, De Zionite Enterprises

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Obianuju Chukwuji Joseph is 27 and was born in the Niger Delta. She now resides in Woji, a suburb in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State Nigeria, with her husband and young son. Obianuju studied accounting and received her Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in 2006 from Plateau State University, Jos, in northern Nigeria.   

After her OND, she searched fruitlessly for a job to support her desire to further her education.  In 2009, while searching for a job on the Internet, Obianuju spotted an advertisement of Shell’s LiveWIRE programme and seized the chance to set up her own interior design business.  She attended a four day LiveWIRE Business enterprise training and developed a business plan. Her business plan was assessed and selected to receive an award because her idea was viable.   She received an award to the tune of N250,000.00 to start her home decoration business.

Obianuju is passionate about home decoration and always spent her free time sewing.  She has grown the business from a one man business into one which now employs six staff.  She has also expanded her services to her clients to include professional home cleaning services. 

Sixteen months after receiving her grant and setting up business in January 2011, she has trained and helped to establish three other young ladies in the home decoration business in the Niger Delta and their businesses are thriving.

In March 2012, she launched a programme called ‘De-Zionite Helping Hands’ to help the less privileged families in her community. While cleaning homes, she encourages her clients to de-clutter their homes and donate useable items to her charity.   De-Zionite Helping Hands’ is involved in gathering used items of clothing, toys, books, furniture, beddings etc, and once a month donates these items to the less privileged and needy families in her communities.  Her most recent donation was to a Creek settlement in Port Harcourt.  This is how she gives back to society. 

According to Obianuju, female business women like her are rare in Woji.  The Shell LiveWIRE programme in Nigeria lent her the capital to set up, offered training, and put her in touch with a mentor, Belema Ogbuigwe, also a LiveWIRE award winner, who visits regularly to provide business advice and support.

Obianuju believes that capital alone is not enough for a business to be successful – young entrepreneurs need passion and drive to succeed. Her vision is to continue to provide high quality service to her clients, expand her business and employ more people. She also commits continue her service to the less priviledged.

 

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