COVID-19 led Essequibo Coast CSEC high-achiever to entrepreneurship

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Tabitha Alves

By Raywattie Deonarine

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced persons into creating opportunities and to come up with innovative and creative ways to utilise and share their talents and abilities gifted to them.

One such person is a 17-year-old entrepreneur of Queenstown on the Essequibo Coast, Tabitha Alves. Alves is a former student of the Abram Zuil Secondary School excelled at the CSEC examination last year with 20 subjects. She gained 16 grade ones and four grade twos.

As a result of the pandemic, Alves – like many persons – decided to enter the field of entrepreneurship by starting up her own business.

She now owns and operates “T.A Personalized and Virtual Designs”.

The young entrepreneur launched her own business in December 2020 after completing her secondary education. Though still young, she is actively working on growing her business so that it becomes a household name.

In a recent interview with Sunday Times, Alves revealed that the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for her because she had a chance to utilise her talent.

She stated that after attending a catering course, the trainer talked about entrepreneurship and that motivated her to open a business that’s not on the Essequibo Coast.“Well, a lot of people are baking and decorating cakes, doing catering, and selling clothing that is most requested so I was thinking what about graphic designing and virtual designing because due to the pandemic it’s not allowed to go out and get invitations printed… So, I was thinking about a digital invitation (e-vite) rather than a printed invitation because it is way cheaper because I can just design one and send it to the clients,” Alves explained.

“I wanted to find something that is unique and suited me, and I always have an interest in typing and creative designing. So I knew I wanted to do something in that field and even though it is challenging I knew I was up to the task,” the young woman added.

She recounted that while she was waiting on her CSEC examination results – which were delayed owing to the controversy with the grades in 2020 – she was bored and needed to occupy that time by doing the things she loved. So the curious youngster began practising her graphic designing skills and researching what was needed to ensure she could start operating.

She further noted that her parents have been supportive throughout this journey.

“I never expected myself to become an entrepreneur at such a young age. I never envisioned myself as a business owner,” Alves related.

The fully self-taught entrepreneur is continually working on improving her skills so that she can better serve her clients. She also stated that she is also open to correction and new ideas because that’s how she can completely expand her brand.

“It’s truly amazing because I’ve never envisioned myself or thought that I would’ve been a graphic designer. And it’s uplifting when you can get positive feedback from your clients, it honestly pushes you to do better and to continue doing the amazing job that you’re doing,” Alves noted.

When the young entrepreneur was asked what kind of advice would she give to young persons who are trying to navigate life during the pandemic, she said “Never Give up. Mistakes will be made; you might feel discouraged at times but don’t you ever think of throwing in the towel just because of one failure. Life is a learning process; hence it doesn’t come with a manual. Make God your builder and he’ll make you the head cornerstone.”

Speaking on her recent CSEC achievement, Alves said she is honestly in shock and so grateful to God.

“The journey wasn’t easy cause my mom fell ill like 2 months before I had to write my exam so I was really frustrated but I’m overwhelmed with tears of gladness and I’m thrilled that I made it…It’s indeed a wonderful feeling. My parents are as proud as I am because even though they didn’t have to write the exam they were with me every step of this journey. They gave me all that they can give and rallied around me and made sure I had all that I needed. My family members were my biggest supporters” Alves said.

The teenager is aspiring to become a pediatrician because of her love for children and helping people.