Mrs Adenike Agemo is the brain behind Blessed Nikky Foods, an outfit that specialise in making local pap called Ogi.
The pap merchant is making waves in the business world with her innovation in packaging pap.
Lack of degree or formal education has not impeded her success so far because she simply turned her passion into business. In this interview with Inspire, the feisty woman said that she started making pap 20 years ago but turned it into full time business last year.
When did you start this business?
I started last year. I run a grocery store, that’s where I started. I used to do the local ogi before one of my children, an accountant suggested to me that I could turn it to a good business. She said that I could make good money if I take it to the next level.
Initially, I didn’t know how to start the business but my daughter made it easier for me by going into more research on it. The designing of the plastic bottles and label came from me, my daughter only helped in getting them.
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How do you manage a business without formal education?
I don’t have a degree but there is nowhere in the world where one needs a degree to run a business. Everything about the product is local. The niche is to make a local product look foreign. The preservation is even locally produced.
What differentiates you from those who hawk on the street?
I do not hawk on the street and neither would you find my product being hawked on the street. There is a standard to my product. If I don’t put some rules I don’t think people would notice the standard of the product.These products are specially produced for different people with different desires.
Can you relate your experience as an entrepreneur?
The business is still on a small scale that requires small capital but that does not mean it will remain there. The experience is still gathering, beaming with colours of hope and uncertainty, which will not stop me from continuing.
The difference between the rich and the poor is resilience. When the business begins to grow I think I have plans in the pipeline that will make the development smooth and steady. Most people fail in business because they don’t make development plans.There is a mapped out plan for this enterprise for the next 20 years.
Do you also believe that customers are always right, or you believe that there are times you need to advise or
caution a customer?
Yes, customers are always right. Aside the plain pap, there are other products with different flavours and treatments that I market. The customer only knows what he or she deserves and what is good for him or her.The customer is always right.
How do you combine the business and home front, some men don’t like their wives to work for fear of abandoning home?
I don’t have any little child to attend to now, our last child is in the university in 400 level , all the children are grown up and fend for themselves. They can’t distract me from my business. My husband is very understanding. He support my business because he knows that I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
How do government policies affect your business?
At the level my business is now, it is only the local government policy that is affecting me. Their policies are not economy friendly as they keep bringing different types of bill.
As a growing company what are the chances of your business surviving?
The chances are bright, it’s just that finance is a major restraint on the business but if there is a system in place where small scale companies can access loans, the business would go places.
Have you ever felt frustrated doing the business?
There has never been a time I contemplate going into any other venture. Rough moment in business fortifies you. This is not my first business, I have always been into business but what makes the difference with this business was the accident I had in 2009. It was a commercial motorcycle accident. I could not walk nor do I have the strength to hawk or hustle. It is a job I can do sitting in one place. My first business was supply of eggs and groceries.
Did you learn this business from a workshop?
I trained all my children how to make pap while they were infants. It was something I was doing to reduce cost and above all, it gives me pleasure to make pap. In those days, people will request for my pap before I even think about making them.
I was sounding it like a song to my husband that I was going to be a pap merchant or a sachet water
producer. The sachet water was a little bit capital demanding and needs a lot of technical know-how while the pap just requires me to sit and sieve.
How do you feel when called pap
It is a pride for me to be called so because I see myself as an entrepreneur. I have supplied pap to people in London and America.
Another thing is that in the world today there is nothing one would be doing as an entrepreneur that he or she would be regarded as a riffraff. An entrepreneur that is worth thousands of naira is better than an employee that
has a million in his account.
There was a time my husband wanted to stop me from doing it but the resilience he saw in me made him to
allow me. I would do everything I needed to do at home to make sure that I don’t use his
time for business.