By Raywattie Deonarine
Parents are the carriers of a wealth of knowledge. Their experiences have taught them how to navigate the various challenges life throws at them. Our parents quite often share that knowledge, whether we ask for it or not, hoping that we may learn from their lessons.
The struggles of his parents have led 22-year-old Safeer Jama to put measures in place to ensure that he has both financial and job security.
Jama, of the Essequibo Coast, recently opened his own business at Airy Hall. N&A Pooja and Variety Store has been the dream for Safeer for a long time and in the midst of the adversity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many without job security and scrambling to find alternative means of income, the young man kick-started his own business.
He has already attracted the attention of the Essequibian public and in remarkable fashion too. He forms part of a group of young Essequibians who used the pandemic to launch various business ventures in an effort to either supplement their income from other jobs or create an income after losing their job.
Although life was tough growing up for Jama, he expressed that even though he had always held strong in the hope that things would eventually get better, indulging in jobs at an early age became his way of escaping the realities of life. Describing his battles as the most horrible time in his life, Safeer noted that it was the constant love and support from his parents that prevented him from self-sabotaging his future and aided him through those days.
He explained that it was the lessons of his parents that really shaped him into the person he is today. His parents had tough lives growing up and they are not shy in sharing those struggles in an effort to guide their children. The young man said that his parents have struggled in their lives to ensure that their children could have a better life. He saw them working hard to achieve that and in turn he wanted to work just as hard to build on what they built.
After secondary school, the young entrepreneur was employed at Multi-Care Pharmacy in Anna Regina to sustain his household and to save to open his own business. He would later resign from that post when he would have amassed the confidence and resources to start the journey of becoming his own boss.
“It started out with me purchasing Indian clothing and accessories from Trinidad’s Fab India Expo, mining equipment, stationery, and pooja items from local markets wholesale. At first, it was very difficult for me to get customers but with my friends and family who supported and shared my business post made me able to attract a lot of customers,” he said.
He launched N&S Pooja and Variety Store on January 27, 2021, after scrambling to find alternative means of income. He is actively working on growing his business so that it can become a massive means of income and a household name in the future. Safeer further added that he had full support from his parents, villagers, and friends.
The young entrepreneur has plans to diversify his business portfolio and venture into large a household name with a specific list of products including the latest Indian outfits, pooja items, mining equipment, and stationery, that are of high demand on the Essequibo Coast.
During a recent interview with Sunday Times, he said “Despite the pandemic, the business has been a success. I haven’t seen a slow business. It has been rolling for the past months because of several weddings during the pandemic. The business has been such a blessing for me and I’m very proud of myself being a young male entrepreneur despite challenges I faced when I was building the foundation for my future.”
“I had plans of opening the business and I’m thankful. When I was thinking about opening this business, my parents were very supportive and after I finished school, I toiled hard to purchase materials I needed to build a small building for me to launch business. I was able to get the building erected which was the major part.”
Safeer worked for 4 years to acquire enough resources to venture into the world of entrepreneurship. He said that when he finally opened his business to accept actual customers, he was excited and extremely pleased. He added that knowing within just six months he was able to sharpen his entrepreneurial talent and bring it to a level that he could now not just earn his own money, but also be the owner of his own business, felt like one of the greatest achievements he could have gotten from the beginning of 2021.
When the young entrepreneur was asked what piece of advice he would give to other persons who want to open a business, he said, “Take new changes as an opportunity to find new ways to grow your business and to continue to build and provide for your community.
To the youths who want to start their own business, it’s going to take a lot of determination and hard work but it’s a fun process. Just keep these four steps/stages in mind 1-start up, 2-survival, 3-success, 4-growth.”