A young entrepreneur making use of her abilities

Solomon Islands young disabled persons entrepreneurship success story by Youth@work

News | 20 October 2015
 MARY OSIABU, a youth with an intellectual disability, is excited to become an entrepreneur. The young woman, from Choiseul and Malaita, has decided to set up a small business selling doormats she has made.

The 32-year-old recently completed the Young Entrepreneurs Programme run by Youth@Work, which focuses on helping young people understand that self-employment is an alternative option to consider.

“I joined the training, and was asked to come up with a business plan,” she said.

“I decided on selling doormats as my business idea as I already knew how to make them.”

The doormats she makes are made of rags and random pieces of calico.

“I have sold four doormats already and just finished another two ready for sale.

“It is a nice feeling to see people like what I have made.”

Mary described her latest doormat as the biggest she has ever made.

”It took more than three weeks to finish it,” she said.

“With this project, I face little to no problems with it, because it’s what I enjoy doing.”

“The only challenge I see is to finish a doormat and move on to the next one.”

“I save all my money for a rainy day.”

Mary, like the other 15 youths who took part in the programme, received a grant upon completion in the form of materials to set up her business.

Mary said she was glad to receive assistance and is doing her best to make the most of it.

ILO Start Your Business Trainer, Gerea Lepping, said that he finds Mary’s project quite inspiring.

“I find Mary’s business project interesting because it’s recycling yet creative. She has found a way to make use of something that most of us see as useless.

“Mary is very creative and makes use of her abilities.”

Mr Gerea encourages youths with disabilities to consider becoming an entrepreneur.

“I would like to see all youths having motivation and passion for whatever business plans they have and do it to their best to sustain themselves at the end of the day.

“Anyone can become a good business person, you only need the driving force to move into starting your own business, be committed and have support from your families.

“Just don’t give in to whatever circumstances you face, make use of the talent and skills you have.”

- This story was written by Youth@Work press to document ILO SYB programme initiatives for youths, as part of the UNHSTF project to promote self-employment in Solomon Islands.