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Promising Business & Investment Opportunities – AFRICAN FOOD BRANDS AND PACKAGING FOR EXPORT

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African food brands and packaging for export

Every year, Africa loses thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in potential income by exporting unprocessed, non-value-added commodities like raw cocoa and coffee beans.

And then when these commodities have been transformed into premium chocolate and gourmet coffee by factories in North America and Europe, we spend even more money to import the value-added products back to Africa.

As a result, while chocolate and processed coffee represent a lucrative global market that is worth over $100 billion annually, thousands of African cocoa and coffee farmers remain trapped in extreme poverty.

This absolutely makes no sense.

Thankfully, this normally has opened gaps in the market for startups like FairAfric and Garden of Coffee to develop uniquely African product brands that have the potential to become big hits on the international market.

By focusing on ‘Made in Africa’ organic chocolate bars made from cocoa beans which are harvested and processed in Ghana, FairAfric is targeting ethically-conscious consumers in Europe with its impressive range of organic chocolate brands.

In 2018 alone, the business made and exported over 250,000 chocolate bars, and raised about €50,000 from investors on Kickstarter.

The same change is coming to African coffee too.

Ethiopia is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of coffee, and is one of the world’s largest coffee bean producers. It also has some of the oldest coffee crafting techniques passed down over centuries.

Still, when you mention coffee, most people are likely to think of ‘Starbucks’ and not Ethiopia.

That’s why Garden of Coffee, an emerging coffee brand from Ethiopia, could be a game-changer for the continent. Founded in 2016 by Bethlehem Alemu, the business roasts 5 types of Ethiopia’s legendary coffee and ships them to over 20 countries, including Russia, Sweden, Germany, and the USA.

In August 2018, Garden of Coffee launched in China, a tea-loving market that is increasingly turning towards coffee. And by 2022, the company’s big plan is to open over 100 café roasteries across China.

For a continent that produces over 75% of cocoa beans used in chocolate and roughly 11% of coffee beans, Africa has a unique opportunity to create strong product brands that can attract premium prices from foreign consumers.

On top of that, thousands of jobs and small businesses will be created and supported by adding value to raw commodities like cocoa and coffee beans.

But cocoa and coffee are only the beginning of a much bigger wave of emerging business opportunities in Africa for value-added food exports.

With entrepreneurs like Momarr Mass Taal in the Gambia building lucrative businesses from the export of locally-processed dried mangoes and groundnuts, this year will likely see more entrepreneurs join the fray to develop unique African product brands for export.

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Afro Success Stories

African Entrepreneurs creating Jobs and Employment in Their Communities – Olasupo Abideen

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Olasupo Abideen ” My greatest achievement is being a 25yr old employer who employs 35 people and has trained 475 Others” as one of african entrepreneurs.

Meet Olasupo

I am a 25year old one of Nigerian african entrepreneurs, founder/CEO of OPAB Gas with over 6 years of transnational experience leading and working with diverse teams to facilitate youth empowerment, development projects and youth involvement in policy. I am a UNESCO ESD Young Leader, a WEF Global Shaper and a Fellow, Young Africa Leadership Initiative.

Since receiving the $5000 Seed Capital in December 2018, my Company has created employment for thirty-five (35) University undergraduates (through our Work Student and Student Ambassadorship Program), opened ‘four (4) new Gas stores’, and trained ‘four hundred and seventy-five (475) unemployed youth and corps members‘ (through our #Gasprenuer Initiative). As a means of giving back to the community, we have also helped ‘five (5) kids’ return to school through our #StreetToSchool programme for our Community.

My Humble Beginnings

I watched my mother walk long distances to gather firewood and buy coal to cook for my family in my growing up years in my village in south-west Nigeria, where I was raised. It wasn’t peculiar to my mother; this was commonplace for all families. We all knew it wasn’t safe. We knew that if it made them this uncomfortable, there was no way it was safe, but we didn’t know there were alternatives. After all, this is how our grandparents and their parents before them lived.

It bothered me to see my mother’s red eyes, and the wet eyes of other women in our rural community bothered me a lot. Even though I did not know until recently that cooking with firewood is equivalent to smoking 400 cigarettes per hour, and is one of the three causes of mortality among women and children, I knew there had to be something I could do, but I couldn’t figure it out; or better put, I did not have enough education nor access to information to figure it out.

 

My Business Idea

The Idea to start my business came from a need that I identified and solving that problem meant a business opportunity. As a student of chemistry at the University of Ilorin, I was exposed – through volunteering – to MDGs (and subsequently SDGs), and I took a keen interest in clean, renewable energy, that could be used instead of orthodox fuelling options, and one of them was Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

After a long time of advocacy for SDGs, as an undergraduate, my SDGs advocacy and youth development organization, Brain Builders International, signed an agreement with the Kwara State University’s Community Development and Entrepreneurship Centre to train young Nigerians african entrepreneurs on the Sustainable Development Goals, their benefits, and ways toward actualisation.

I noticed that every time I took the 55min trip to Kwara State University to facilitate these training sessions, I would encounter students carrying gas cylinders: either going to fill Gas in Ilorin or coming back from Ilorin after filling Gas. I later learnt that the only cooking gas supplier in the community at that time was exploiting the students by using a manual scale that could be manipulated and also selling at a rip-off price.

 

Solving the Problem

In 2017, I took a soft loan from a friend, added some of my own moneyand after conducting intense market research, filing necessary papers, and satisfying ethical and professional standards, we opened our first OPAB Gas station. The services we offered hinged on three things; convenience, safety, and trust. Students could now focus on academics, as we did not only sell gas at the standard rate, but we also offered pick-up and delivery services. We used safe measures alongside a digital scale to address the issue of trust. Within three months we had broken even.

The TEF Intervention

In 2018, I applied for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme but was only selected for the GIZ list to be one of the 210 beneficiaries of the training and $5000 funding. The training provided by the foundation on business planning, financial intelligence, scalability, among others could only be likened to a mini MBA.

Immediately after the training myself and my team we started discussing how to dominate the market in which we operate and capture new markets.

With the seed capital, we were able to expand our business.

 

Our Growth and Milestones as one of african entrepreneurs

  • Expansion: We have expanded the business to 6 stations in two townships to target the student populations and made over $25,000 since receiving the seed capital from the foundation.
  • Employment: Staff strength – 2 (in 2017), 35 people (2019).
  • Gas on Wheels: We now own delivery vans and offers delivery services
  • Digitization: We now take orders on the business’ website in both cities where we operate.
  • Introduced Customer Loyalty service
    • Health safety card – to educate users about safety measures.
    • Customer reward: Points reward system.
    • Holiday Promos
  • we also have a few impact initiatives that we run.
  • OPAB Gas has trained 450 Youth Corps members, unemployed youth in Kwara State on the economic merits of the Gas economy and the many opportunities that abound in the sector.
  • In line with the UN SDGs, OPAB student work experience – an internship programme where we train students. During this internship, they work on Sundays for a stipend. They then receive N10,000 for every 1000kg of gas sold.
  • OPAB gas student ambassador scheme – delivery service.

 

The Future

The vision for OPAB Gas has always been to solve energy availability and ease of use for everyone across Nigeria so we are constantly working on ways to reach out to more Nigerians.

Our OPAB telemetry solution will allow people to monitor and manage their gas usage, notify them when it is almost finished, connect them to the nearest gas stations and pay for gas with existing mobile money applications.

 

 

Contact Details

Website: https://opabgas.com

Instagram: @opabgas_

Phone call/WhatsApp: 07068775529.

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