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High performing student needs help for College

Aspiring attorney opens cook shop to finance education BY RACQUEL PORTER Observer staff reporter - HAVING been by her mother's side as she vends since she was two years old, Samantha Biggs' aim is to use education to breakaway from vending as a means of survival. However, despite studying hard, she was forced into the same situation. With nine Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects and nine Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) subjects, including units one and two of law, under her belt, Biggs is still vending on Municipal Boulevard in St Catherine. Now the operator of a cookshop beside her mother's stall that financed her education through primary and high school, Biggs is depending of earnings from her cookshop to finance her university education. On a balmy Thursday morning last week, clad in an apron and a hair net, the young entrepreneur was in the process of selling two fritters to a seemingly hungry customer when the Jamaica Observer visited the location. The Eltham High School alumni, who later moved on to Jose Marti High School's sixth form, said she had to assist her mother daily both before and after school.Shortly after she had finished tending to the customer, who hopped on a bicycle and disappeared between the vehicles that were parked along the roadway, the young entrepreneur refilled one of the many coal stoves inside her shop built from bamboo. It was now time for Biggs to blend the coconut she had diced prior to serving the customer. But the shop had no electricity, so Biggs went over to her mother's stall to blend the coconut. While competing with the sound of the blender, Biggs told the Observer that she wants to one day become an attorney-at-law. “I was suppose to apply to the University of the West Indies, but I didn't because of financial constraints, and this is why I try to do this business,” Biggs said. Biggs, who is also a bee farmer, said she recently obtained unit one and two in CAPE law at Quality Academics with the money she earned from her farm. Juggling church and her apiary on a Sunday, the 24-year-old mother of one said she has been operating as a bee farmer for just over a year.

Pointing out that her mother is her biggest motivator, the young entrepreneur revealed that she was working for a business process outsourcing company in 2016, but had to quit because things “were not working out”. She then recognised the the need for a cookshop at her current location and decided to go for it. “While I was working, I would come and help her (mother), but it wasn't worth it at the call centre. Whenever I am out here, customers normally come and ask for cooked meals and so I decided to open the cookshop,” Biggs said.

Despite a drop in sales and the fact that her handbag was recently stolen from inside her shop, she is optimistic that she will generate enough funds to obtain a law degree and finance herself through law school.

The young entrepreneur is one of many vendors waiting to be relocated to the newly constructed Ackee Village off the Dyke Road in St Catherine.

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