Joy Nkiru Ikpeoha, a Nigerian entrepreneur, introduces her company and services to foreign expatriates in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, May. 19, 2023. (Xinhua)
HAIKOU, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- What can one achieve in eight years? Joy Nkiru Ikpeoha from Nigeria obtained both bachelor's and master's degrees and set up a company during this time.
Ikpeoha, born in 1992, first came to the island province of Hainan in south China in 2015 to study Chinese language at Hainan University. Four years later, she extended her academic pursuit, eventually gaining a master's degree in enterprise management in 2022.
Her entrepreneurial journey began this year when she established a company in the provincial capital of Haikou, aiming to provide a quick and effective service platform for foreign talents of all types.
"My company is about helping foreign talents in Haikou or Hainan to set up their own businesses, and kind of feel at home here in Hainan," Ikpeoha explained. The company also provides other services to foreign expatriates, including translation and assistance in finding rental housing.
Ikpeoha's entrepreneurial acumen has its roots in her internship experience at an international talent center in Haikou during her master's program.
At the center, she was in charge of helping foreigners attend events like entrepreneurial forums, communication and cooperation salons and project introduction salons.
"I feel like that's what I am good at. So I thought I should have my own company to fully capitalize on helping foreigners and offering services," she said.
Ikpeoha felt lucky that she could start her own business from scratch, thanks to Hainan Free Trade Port policies. "This environment is very suitable for young entrepreneurs, especially for foreigners who don't have that much money to start their own companies."
Having dreamt of having her own company since she majored in enterprise management, she is now so happy that "the dream has come true."
Although still in the early stages of her business journey, Ikpeoha is optimistic about the future. She views the opportunities presented by the Hainan Free Trade Port construction as significant, predicting a positive impact on both her business and the broader foreign community in Hainan.
"I believe that Hainan, in the future, will do better, because more and more foreigners are beginning to come here," she stated, adding that they're also bringing more investors from all over the world, even from Africa, and capitalizing on agriculture, tourism and a lot of other opportunities.
Ikpeoha's entrepreneurial journey has also brought her personal growth. "Ever since I opened up this company, I realized that I have more to learn, either practical or theoretical," she said. "I have a long way to go, and I need to keep learning. There're a lot of opportunities out there."
Reflecting on all her years of living in Hainan, Ikpeoha felt Hainan has been a second home which is calm and welcoming. In addition to her business pursuits, Ikpeoha is a vlogger, sharing glimpses of her life in Hainan, diverse cuisines, and cultural experiences that bring her joy. ■
Joy Nkiru Ikpeoha, a Nigerian entrepreneur, works on a laptop at her office in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, Nov. 15, 2023. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)