Monica Nwilubabari Tanee
is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of
Portharcourt, She was all over the news last week when she posted a
picture of herself smoking cat fish on her Facebook page, a business she
started while serving in Ondo state not minding the stress, humiliation
and low patronage.
She almost gave up on the business after her service
year but later kicked it off with encouragement from
her business partner ;Yinyegha Tiki who owns the firewood oven she uses
in smoking fish. Monica’s biggest Inspiration is her late dad who
passed away last month, in her words: “My dad didn’t have any formal
education but he gave me my first degree, I will do all I can to make
sure I don’t disappoint him”.
The hard working orphan who also lost her
mum 11 years ago shares her inspiring story in this exclusive
interview with Women of Rubies!
My childhood influence what I do today because my parents were seriously involved in buying and selling while I was young.
More about my fish business
I started my catfish business during my NYSC year, at 32 Artillery
Brigade Barack Akure, Ondo state where I did my first primary
assignment(ppa) . I studied how to trained fish, I trained some batches
of catfish with a fellow youth corp members before my passing out. We
harvested and took the fresh catfish to (TIkIFISH ) for his unique
processing method, which is not common in Rivers state, that guarantees
sand and smoke-free, tasty smoked fish. So I decided to partner with
I once had a fish pond…
The fish pond was in Ondo state, I rented it for a period. But because
of the nature of thief and pest, I decided not to continue since I was
done with my service year. it was really a wonderful experience
The high rate of waybill from Ondo state, and poor rate of my customers
not paying their debt at an agreed date. There are also series of
harassment from male customers.
Other project and activities
I plan to attain professional certification in Chemical Engineering. I am also into beads making and accessories.
The reception so far…
It has been very fine and encouraging, I have a good relationship with
my customers and they truly believe in my business and also refer people
to me from all over the country.
On giving up
There have been times when I felt like giving up. For instance, when
friends see me as a fishmonger after graduating as a Chemical Engineer.
Last month, I lost my beloved daddy and I felt I already lost everything
in life, living a life without parents that gave me inspiration. All
the same, I thank God for everything.
How I market my smoked fish…
No, I don’t have a shop for now. I market my business through words of
mouth to friends, family, neighbours and I also make use of the social
media. I also go out to the market to network.
I got my inspiration from my dad, he is my role model in life. He was
able to make it in life without higher education. He was able to give me
my first degree. And I believe by the grace of God I can do better
through Christ that strengthens me.
I am a Woman of Rubies
As a Woman of Rubies, I believe in working with my hands to take care of
my family, friends, and myself when there are needs. If I should throw
the questions back to you.
Final word for young budding female entrepreneur and women out there
Self-determination is one major key they should work with. As for me, I
told myself I’ll not stay idle after my service year, even though what
I’m doing is not related to my field of study. My parents have tried a
lot for me and it is high time I start doing something to take care of
myself, so I can stop depending on them because my younger ones are
still in school. At the point where I took the decision, I remember this
portion in the Bible (2 Chronicles 2:27 and Deuteronomy 28:12).
Secondly, let them rise up and be self-employed in any little
entrepreneur’s skills they have. For those that are currently jobless,
I’ll encourage you to pick a business or skill of your choice and start
working on it, don’t be ashamed. Seriously speaking, hard work pays
especially for a woman, you will gain respect from family, friends and
even your husband. During a time like this, they will meet different
kinds of person on their way up, some are ready to bring you down with
discouragement and bad advice. Who you choose as a mentor and the people
that give you
advice, matters a lot. Also listening to your spirit is one thing they should not overlook.
Lastly, they should not remove daily prayer in every ramification of their life, also payment of Tithe.