ENABLE-TAAT success story: Mentorship helps beneficiary overcome COVID-19 impact
A beneficiary of the ENABLE-TAAT capacity development exercise has affirmed that beyond technical training for youth, mentorship and training in soft skills and business development are valuable to provide a soft landing for new enterprises.
In 2019, Aderemi Adekunle Oke participated in an aquaculture training provided by the program compact because of the ample opportunities offered. Before that time, he started a fish enterprise that was swept away during heavy rainfall. So, he decided to gain more knowledge from the ENABLE-TAAT aquaculture training before starting again.
During the training, he learned about the fish value chain from production to consumption and business development. He was also trained to set up a business plan, think “outside the box”, manage an enterprise, be proactive, respect human value, and be emotionally intelligent.
Oke then ventured into fish production by building a hatchery and six nursery ponds and a mini pond. He planned to hatch fingerlings and nurture, process, and market them. Sadly, the outbreak of COVID-19 dealt a massive blow to his enterprise. He lost his market, and many fish died due to lack of feed.
In his low moments, he began to reflect on some of the notes taken during the soft skills training and sought mentorship from ENABLE-TAAT staff. He developed an interest in processing during that time, and the youth compact invited him to the IITA processing center for orientation.
In 2020, Oke ventured into processing, packaging, and marketing food commodities, including potato, cassava flour, maize flour, plantain flour, chili pepper, and locust beans. He developed a business plan with support from the ENABLE-TAAT team, which continued to mentor him, and commenced a new enterprise named “TAKERO”. The enterprise now employs Oke’s wife and about eight casual staff. It has a large local market and is now exporting to the UAE, UK, USA, and Sweden!
“They provided me a conducive environment and adequate mentorship during my transition. I felt very sad when I lost my fish enterprise to COVID-19, but I am grateful that ENABLE-TAAT helped me gain the orientation I need before launching my new enterprise. I am doing fine now,” he said.
TAKERO is very particular about using first-grade quality materials that meet international standards. The primary commodities they process are pro-vitamin A maize from IITA, millet, orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), yam, cassava, and vegetables.