Sukai Jobe is a young Gambian entrepreneur engaged in processing agro-products for local consumption. She is a food vendor and is selling various kinds of food with the enterprise named Taste of Nature, which she created in 2018.
LTN had an interview with her and below we reproduce the full interview.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
I am Sukai Jobe. I was born in 1984 in Banjul and I have a passion for processing agro products just for home use but I graduated as an IT specialist. I was born at the country’s main referral hospital called RVTH then in Banjul. I was raised in Sanchaba Sulay Jobe by my loving parents. My father is a tailor and my mum is a food vendor selling cuscus in its best taste. She taught me how to prepare traditional foods of all kinds.
2. Tell us about your academic background and employment record.
I attended Mr. Barry’s Nursery School and then moved to Bijilo Primary School from grade One to Five as it was the only public school in our area, then we have a primary school at Sanchaba. I transferred and repeated grade Five and completed grade Six. I sat for the Common Entrance and enrolled at Greater Banjul Upper Basic School from 7-9.
However, due to financial constraints, I wanted to give up on schooling after enrolling at Gambia High School but due to late registration, I was unable to enroll there and was lucky to be enrolled at the School of Educational Pursuit (SEP), where I benefitted from a scholarship from grade 10- 12.
After my graduation, I attended MDI for AAT Foundation with the help of a British lady (now late). I started ICT at the Humanity First Institute, the Banjul the Gambia chapter, for information technology foundation to advanced diploma level from there, I built an interest in technology and become very smart in it. My institute offered me an attachment in 2004 and in 2005, I was employed as a staff, working as a secretary and as an IT teacher. I later continued as a teacher and administration assistant.
I graduated from Humanity First the Gambia with a diploma in hardware and networking, from there I did an online course with the global knowledge institute in Egypt, ( ITIL) Information Technology, which I was unable to complete due to financial constraints. Then I came back to the Gambia and concentrate on my entrepreneurship journey with lots of training and workshops just to have the technical know-how for the journey I took.
Employment record :
Lecture trainee in ICT at foundation/ secretary at Humanity First Banjul
2005 to 2012 Accountant.
2012 2015 at Humanity First Latrikunda
Internet Administrator 2007 to 2010
Sanchaba Internet cafe
Secretary/ Admin assistant Agua Gambia Ltd 2018 to 2020
CEO and manager Taste of Nature 2018 to date..
3. How did the idea for your business come about?
Like I said earlier, I always have had a passion for food processing, I was well-known in petty trading I started the business when I was 10 years old helping my mum at the market and she created a side business for me when I was in grade 7 when I have a groundnut powder hand processing machine beside her, business continues as I complete school, when I started work, buying goods in Senegal and selling in the Gambia was my business but I went to Egypt in 2015 and worked with farmers that do processing from their harvests like Yam and Juice, even though I was not working in the farm, I know how they preserve their products. Being an agro-products lover, I developed an interest, and when I returned to the Gambia, I said to myself that I will process agro-products into food.
4. What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Growing up in a business environment and always thinking of how to solve problems and have it as a source of income.
5. How did you come up with the name of your company?
‘Taste of Nature’ just explains the meaning of my business.
6. How did you raise funding for your business?
My own capital until when I had support from the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP)
7. How do you build a successful customer base?
With Taste of Nature, our customers determine our success. We do it the way they want it.
8. How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Social media have been our strength Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp is where we do most of our marketing.
9. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Nothing changes just that we were doing it locally and now professionally.
10. What motivates you?
Entrepreneurship is unique. You solved problems and at the same time solve your own not only for yourself but to support others around you to grow too.
11. How do you generate new ideas?
When am quite lonely?
12. How do you define success?
In any case, success is when the goal is attained; for example, you have a project completed. The way you want it, it’s called success and at the same time if people around me can solve their problems through me it also means success. Well, I may have a different concept from other people in defining success.
13. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
I don’t have any formula. I don’t think there is any formula. The entrepreneurship journey needs patience, determination, loyalty faith, hard work, and respect for the people you work with most importantly your customers, and the people around you.
14. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Self-employment is somehow great you are in control of your own time you give orders, you do your things the way you want it, nobody controls your revenue you have broken the time you want to have, people like me take care of their families the way they want, I go in and out anytime I want to, I become my own boss.
15. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Entrepreneurship is full of obstacles but if you are hard-working you can be successful and enjoy the fruit of your labour.
16. What is your assessment of the country’s current economic situation?
I think we are leaving our way. We should go back to the land farm and produce, process, and eat what we grow. The government should create factories for more employment, and for those of us who are into entrepreneurship, we should be supported the scale up our businesses so that we can employ more youth and women.
17. How do you see LamToro’s coming into the Gambian media fraternity?
LamToro’s coming into the media fraternity with all its initiatives is great, especially on the entrepreneurship side, where they support young entrepreneurs, is a great idea. We just pray for them to be very strong and we wish them great success.
18. Any final message?
My message is going out to the youth, especially the young people that are just graduating, do not waste your time waiting for a white color job. If you have the opportunity look for very comfortable skills and help yourself with them.
19. Thank you for granting us this Interview.