Meet Monica Tanee the chemical engineer graduate who sells smoked fishes for a living.

Monica Nwilubabari Tanee is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Portharcourt, She was all over the news last week when she posted a picture of herself smoking cat fish on her Facebook page, a business she started while serving in Ondo state not minding the stress, humiliation, and low patronage.

She almost gave up on the business after her service year but later kicked it off with encouragement from her business partner ; Yinyegha Tiki who owns the firewood oven she uses in smoking fish. Monica’s biggest Inspiration is her late dad who passed away last month, in her words: “My dad didn’t have any formal education but he gave me my first degree, I will do all I can to make sure I don’t disappoint him”. 

The hard working orphan who also lost her mum 11 years ago shares her inspiring story in this exclusive interview with Women of Rubies!

My childhood influence what I do today because my parents were seriously involved in buying and selling while I was young.
More about my fish business
I started my catfish business during my NYSC year, at 32 Artillery Brigade Barack Akure, Ondo state where I did my first primary assignment(ppa) . I studied how to trained fish, I trained some batches of catfish with a fellow youth corp members before my passing out. We harvested and took the fresh catfish to (TIkIFISH ) for his unique processing method, which is not common in Rivers state, that guarantees sand and smoke-free, tasty smoked fish. So I decided to partner with him.

I once had a fish pond…

The fish pond was in Ondo state, I rented it for a period. But because of the nature of thief and pest, I decided not to continue since I was done with my service year. it was really a wonderful experience


The high rate of waybill from Ondo state, and poor rate of my customers not paying their debt at an agreed date. There are also series of harassment from male customers.

Other project and activities

I plan to attain professional certification in Chemical Engineering. I am also into beads making and accessories.
The reception so far…
It has been very fine and encouraging, I have a good relationship with my customers and they truly believe in my business and also refer people to me from all over the country.

On giving up

There have been times when I felt like giving up. For instance, when friends see me as a fishmonger after graduating as a Chemical Engineer. Last month, I lost my beloved daddy and I felt I already lost everything in life, living a life without parents that gave me inspiration. All the same, I thank God for everything.

How I market my smoked fish…
No, I don’t have a shop for now. I market my business through words of mouth to friends, family, neighbors and I also make use of the social media. I also go out to the market to network.


I got my inspiration from my dad, he is my role model in life. He was able to make it in life without higher education. He was able to give me my first degree. And I believe by the grace of God I can do better
through Christ that strengthens me.

I am a Woman of Rubies

As a Woman of Rubies, I believe in working with my hands to take care of my family, friends, and myself when there are needs. If I should throw the questions back to you.

Final word for young budding female entrepreneur and women out there

Self-determination is one major key they should work with. As for me, I told myself I’ll not stay idle after my service year, even though what I’m doing is not related to my field of study. My parents have tried a lot for me and it is high time I start doing something to take care of myself so I can stop depending on them because my younger ones are still in school. 

At the point where I took the decision, I remember this portion in the Bible (2 Chronicles 2:27 and Deuteronomy 28:12). Secondly, let them rise up and be self-employed in any little entrepreneur’s skills they have. For those that are currently jobless, I’ll encourage you to pick a business or skill of your choice and start working on it, don’t be ashamed. 

Seriously speaking, hard work pays especially for a woman, you will gain respect from family, friends and even your husband. During a time like this, they will meet different kinds of person on their way up, some are ready to bring you down with discouragement and bad advice. Who you choose as a mentor and the people that give you
advice, matters a lot. Also listening to your spirit is one thing they should not overlook.

Lastly, they should not remove daily prayer in every ramification of their life, also payment of Tithe.

coco's note:
No! wait for  sudden fast 2million to open boutique like the many clueless folks i know...

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