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'If I can do it, so can you'

Last update - Thursday, February 12, 2009, 16:42 By Metro Éireann

Mpumi Gabaatlolwe speaks with Kildare-based Anthony Iriu, whose training in computers gave him the expertise to open his own computer repair business

KILDARE-based Anthony Iriu first came to Ireland in May 2003. He believes that Irish people are much easier to live with compared to some other Europeans, especially if you’re black. “The Irish tend to see beyond the colour of your skin, which is why I found it easier to adapt to the Irish society,” he says.
Life was not easy growing up in Benin City, Nigeria, but that didn’t keep this businessman from harbouring big dreams and turning them into reality. Certainly Ireland’s country roads weren’t going to stop him.
“When I first to Ireland in 2003 the roads were bad, I had to drive four hours to college every morning to Bray from Kildare and back in the evenings, everyday five days a week,” he recalls. “I told myself that one day I am going to be my own boss and work very hard for my family.”
Iriu completed a three-year course in Bray as a computer technician, graduating with flying colours, after which the Nigerian went on to open his first computer business in Naas, Co Kildare. He specialises in repairing computers and laptops, and sells electronic parts, but he also provides internet access and rents out DVDs to his loyal customers.
His business, Connection Point, was a success within its first 12 months, making him enough money to start a second branch the following year, just off the busy Main Street in Naas.
“I’ve always wanted to create a friendly, clean, comfortable and professional environment to make sure that my customers are happy and will come back again,” he says.
With the experience he acquired as an independent computer technician, Iriu also runs a workshop three times a week, lecturing students from Loughlinstown.
“I feel blessed that I can help others in following their dreams and guide them in every way that I can to help them achieve their goals,” he explains. “Through God’s word, I am able to give others courage to work hard and believe that it is possible if you put your heart into it. If I can do it, so can you.”
Being one’s own boss isn’t straightforward, adds Iriu, as one needs self-discipline. “It’s not always easy running your own business because sometimes things don’t go as planned, especially now that there’s a major problem in the State – the economy.”
However, business is going pretty well for Iriu at the moment, despite the fact that many small companies are suffering during this economic decline. Connection Point is managing to pull in customers who refuse to spend money on brand new laptops or desktops, as Iriu specialises in both first and second-hand computers and parts.
And while work keeps him busy, there is always some time to unwind. Iriu enjoys time with his family, and has also found an ideal outlet in his role as a pastor at a local African church.
“Wherever you find yourself doing what you enjoy, you need to do it better, and not go back. You have to keep focused,” he says.
Irui’s future plans include establishing a third store at Naas Shopping Centre, which will open its doors to the public this autumn.

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