Joanna Gana Malgwi an indigene of Adamawa State North East –Nigeria is a graduate of Linguistics English from University of Maiduguri. She is an entrepreneur, Shoe designer, writer, freelance presenter /anchor, event planner, motivational speaker and an aspiring journalist. The visionary young lady shares her vision with Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable
Why did you chose shoe making as a business?
Shoe making is just one of my specialties, but I chose it in particular because I want to “help “. I want to help ease the burden of unemployment in my country by becoming an employer of labour, help, train and empower people in my community and I also want to put a smiles on someone’s face each time my shoes are worn. I Believe so much in “gifted hands “,that is why I promised myself not to allow my hands to be idle. Personally, I love shoes especially high heeled shoes, so I felt having my own shoe line wouldn’t be a big deal that is why I have decided to embrace my small beginning because I can see a bigger picture .
What makes your brand unique?
My shoes are unique because I chose a different and unique line of shoe making that is “Crotchet Shoes ” which was why I fell in love with shoe making despite my lack of flair for shoe making from Childhood. Although crotchet shoes are common in other parts of the world, it is not yet fully recognised in our country especially my own part of the country unlike Leather and Ankara shoes we see daily.
What are the challenges facing your business and in what areas do you need assistance from the government?
One of my major challenge is finance to establish a standard shoe factory in Nigeria. I need financial assistance from the government, though I must commend the Nigerian Government for all its efforts to empower youths through programmes such as YouWin connect , Bank of Industry Youth Entrepreneurship Program and others, but most times only the lucky ones are selected out of thousands. It is something you have to persist about until you get lucky. Unfortunately, time waits for no man.
You come from a part of Nigeria where not many women are involved in technical works, how are you surviving in such environment?
Shoe making in this part of the country is not common to females. Such herculean task like shoe making is attributed to poverty and joblessness, so the truth is, survival has been tough ,so much job discrimination and disrespect .Out of pity some even offered me jobs but I always question myself ” if I quit shoe making for a well-paid job today, what happens to my dream of helping others and what becomes the fate of my employees and apprentice .
What would you like to achieve in years ahead?
Each time I write or speak to motivate people, I always tell them to “Think and see Big” and definitely I can’t preach what I don’t practice. Few years from now, I see a shoe factory with a hive of employees and my shoe brand in every part of the world.
What is your message to the youth in the North, especially female?
To youths in general, I always say ” The youthful stage is s process, a process of decision taking and choice making that will either make or mar you.’’ So, go for the best choice and decisions. And to my fellow females, you carry so much in the inside to make a difference, don’t compromise it. Harness that skill ,it’s not really about your” certificate” but what you can do “Sabi -ficate ” because it is only your abilities that can announce you.
Joanna could be reached on +2347032872297