My name is Aetechio Sunday Ukpo. I am from Okoroutip, Ibeno Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. I was born on 4th April 1988 into the family of late Mr. Aetechio Ukpo and Mrs. Grace Ukpo, both indigenes of Ibeno Local Government Area; they are blessed with 6 children, 5 boys and a girl, where I happened to be the fifth child. I was born in Abia State, Nigeria and shortly after we relocated to Akwa Ibom state, where I attended All Weather International Nursery and Primary School Eket and attained my first school leaving certificate in the year 2000. Shortly after, I began high school at secondary Grammar boarding school in Upenekang, Ibeno LGA and obtained my GSCE in 2006.
I and my family relocated to Port Harcourt, Nigeria in 2003, I joined them there after my secondary education in 2006, then went further the following year to obtain a higher diploma in Aviation and Maritime Academy where I studied shipping and Export management. We relocated to Port Harcourt to seek for a better life; I began searching for work at my young age to support my family as it was a challenging period of our lives and it was very difficult finding a job so I got engaged in several activities I could lay my hands on to provide for myself, including physical labouring, sales assistant, bar attendant amongst others.
My father was a contractor with ExxonMobile at the time; he managed several of their maintenance contract but later on, he developed severe health issues that affected his ability to continue with work, for that reason I was unable to further my education and I intentionally developed the habit to live independently so as to reduce financial pressure on my Mother and siblings. During my early days in Port Harcourt, I met Vincent, my amazing friend who today is the CEO of this great company Centaville.
I shared a lot of childhood memories together with Vincent, I was working at a bar/restaurant just next to where he lived, his father had a fish pond (catfish) in their compound and Vincent came to me suggesting if we could include that on our menu so he becomes our major supplier, even though I thought it was a great idea and I suggested it to my boss at the time, he turned It down and asked me I focus on my job duties. Even after I had explained this to Vincent about my boss rejection, he kept persisting that we could together dive fully into the supplying fish business. On the short run, I quitted my job and joined him and we began the business together supplying to major restaurants and nearby hotels, it went very successful for both of us and gave birth to new ideas and strategy of doing business effectively, and most importantly it that was the beginning of our great friendship and business partners even after he had left for the UK to further his education.
Moving forward to today, life has taught us many things together, it has made us believe that where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved, and where there is unity, there is always victory, and this ideology is what has been incorporated to form the foundation of Centaville.
There is an urgent need for Entrepreneurship in Africa to facilitate economic growth across the continent. Due to its high level of unemployment, many individuals are forced to adopt entrepreneurial activities as a necessity in other to provide for themselves and their families and it has become the most sustainable job creating tool in Africa today. For instance, In Nigeria posing as the Giant of Africa with its high rate of GDP and largest economy in Africa, with a population of nearly 200 million people and among the largest youth population in the World, where 37% of the population are below 14 years of age, yet over quarter of the population is still living below $2 per day. it is obvious that the Nigerian economy has not translated into economic development for its people due to ranging factors including lack of basic infrastructure, lack of adequate electricity, limited access to capital to fund business and entrepreneurial endeavours, political and economic instability where the government systematically ignores laws that are already in place to promote free enterprise.
At Centaville, we aim to serve as an incubator for these aspiring individuals in Africa through entrepreneurship to bridge the gap in the labour market, engaging with population of highly capable and passionate individuals, and making connections with top international scholars, leading politicians, forward-thinking corporate and entrepreneurial minds in other to share ideas and develop relationships that will be translated into meaningful actions, taking into account the dynamics and contextual framework of the continent, thus creating solutions from an African perspective.
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