Early this year, the world seemed to pause as Evans Excel and her mother embarked on a journey to say their final goodbyes to her beloved grandmother. The air carried a weight of sorrow, yet amid the tears, they drew strength from their unbreakable bond and cherished memories that echoed like ethereal whispers in their hearts.
“After the burial, returning from Akwa-Ibom to Abuja was quite a challenge for my mom and I. We were strapped for cash and couldn’t afford the journey. Thankfully, our amazing relatives came to the rescue and helped us overcome this hurdle. Grateful for their support!” Evans said
Back at home, a sense of despair overwhelmed them, making every day feel suffocating. It seemed like their world was on the edge of falling apart, and the fear of a devastating outcome grew stronger. With no money and no support, just getting by felt impossible.
“My mother has always been a businesswoman. She sells food, so we get to eat our share and earn for our upkeep and my education. But when we returned back to Abuja, we were struggling to survive. My mother’s business was, infact about to crash,” Evans narrated.
When they got news of her grandmother’s death, her mother, determined to ensure a proper farewell, had to rely on the kindness of friends and neighbours, taking loans to gather enough funds for transportation and burial expenses.
“Upon our return, we rolled up our sleeves and put in even more effort to keep my mom’s business afloat, determined to honour our commitments and pay off all the debts. My mom worked tirelessly, going above and beyond, to ensure that I had the opportunity to write my WAEC exams. We faced the challenges head-on, working together as a team.
Evans, after settling all the bills, she realised it wouldn’t be wise to rely solely on her mother for her future plans. That’s when she made the courageous decision to start her own business.
Bracing herself for the future
Evans, a 17-year-old who just graduated from secondary school, is worried about what to do next for her future. So, she decided to hustle and set up a roadside business to save up for university.
“My mom is already dealing with a lot, and even though she’s concerned about my studies, I managed to convince her to support my idea of starting a side business. So, I carefully chose a prime spot on the roadside in Anka to sell my goods,” she excitedly shared.
Evans had her heart set on studying Medicine in university, but considering the demands of her business and her mother’s situation, she decided to pursue Pharmacy instead. She believes that Pharmacy is a course fueled by passion.
“ I’m good in science subjects, and I’m confident I’ll excel, especially in math, physics, and chemistry. To ensure that I can pursue my desired university course, I’ll need to put in extra effort to earn some additional money.”
The young lady sells items such as Agidi, soft drinks, peeled and unpeeled groundnuts, boiled eggs, water, bread, moi moi, and bananas. This business has been beneficial for her, as she earns decent profits that she can now save for her education.
“ I’m open to attending any university except for private ones due to financial constraints. My main goal is to study pharmacy at a state or federal university that will enable me to fully develop my potential and achieve success,” she said
Evans shared with Prime Progress that she decided to set up her business along the roadside due to its strategic location, which attracts customers seeking convenience and light refreshments. This decision has proven to be fruitful for her, as she has experienced a surge in customers who enthusiastically purchase her products.
She explained that she initially considered setting up her business near her mother’s shop but realised that doing so wouldn’t attract the desired number of customers. Moreover, the rising costs of dining out have led people to visit her establishment for affordable and satisfying snacks to sustain them throughout the day.
“On most days, I start work around 11:00 am or 12:00 pm, but when I need to restock my goods, I usually start around 2:00 pm or 3:00 pm. By the end of the day, I typically earn between 5000 and 7000 Naira, especially when I start my day early,” she explained
Hell-bent on making her fail
Evans has faced various challenges on her entrepreneurial journey, which have brought about feelings of fear and uncertainty regarding the future she envisions for herself.
“I’ve had encounters with older women who criticise me, suggesting that I should find a more respectable job,” but she added that she is unmoved by their scorn as they are unaware of the battles she is fighting.
Still, Evans said she understands the danger of being a girl selling on the street, as she has been challenged who intimidate her, warning of potential harm if she doesn’t comply with their taunting demands.
“Even though things have improved, I still make sure to wrap up my sales early each day to avoid any unfortunate situations. I have to be cautious,” she explained.
Maintaining the perfect spot for her sales has also been challenging for her, as some homeowners around the street say she should leave the premises because she is a nuisance there.
“I’m grateful for the kind-hearted individuals around who have witnessed my efforts. They always stand up for me and come to my defence whenever I face such situations. Their support means a lot to me,” she said.
Despite facing challenges, the young girl remains optimistic. She saves diligently and has her mother’s unwavering support. She dreams of starting university at 18 and later owning a pharmacy to help her community.