Description of his business:
The business is involved in processing, packaging and sales of pepper because almost 50% of vegetables produced in Nigeria are lost after harvest.
How long have you been running your business
Olanreforward Foods was established due to the urgent need to reduce these losses and return the produce back to the supply chain to ensure food security as the demand for pepper is rapidly increasing.
In the last two years, the competitive strategies which Olanreforward foods had adopted to win without giving any chance for competitors to defeat, they are: • Products differentiation and • Niche Focus.
Olanreforward foods efficient supply network channels, financial support from angel investors (Tony Elumelu Foundation and International Breweries Plc Foundation) and technical support from our local and international partners guarantees the supply of our products.
What led him to be an entrepreneur
The reason for going into entrepreneurship had made him almost commit suicide. He had never really had the passion for being an entrepreneur but one too many unpalatable circumstances has made this so. During NYSC, he had won the Fit award (NYSC state award in Abia) at the passing out parade which automatically should have earned him a job but as this was not the priority of the then new government (who was focused on campaigning and the electioneering process), he did not get a job.
Determined to get the job of his dreams, he decided to apply to the Nigerian Police force and after scaling through some of the intense assessment stages, he was not notified to attend the last interview and as a result missed out again on yet another opportunity (the best opportunity of his life – in his words). These incidences made him so sad and disappointed, and he made up his mind not to apply for another job again.
His first step towards entrepreneurship was to learn how to make bags and just after completing the training was awarded the contract to make the Nigeria Centenary Anniversary carrier bag under the Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. This metamorphosed into conducting entrepreneurial training for corps members as a Skill instructor for bag making at NYSC.
During his time as a skill instructor at the NYSC scheme, he realised that there is increased demand for more skills and this promulgated the interest in catering as a skill to be acquired also. He had thought to bridge the gap of inadequate/contaminated seasoning and chilli pepper in cooking/catering and complains about finding it hard to get pepper (utilized mostly for culinary purposes and seasonings. as well as a stimulant and carminative and externally as a counter- irritant) without stones validated his conviction.
He realised that food Processing Industry he will be venturing into was one of the fastest growing industry in Nigeria despite the government ban on importation of food items, especially those that cannot be produced locally and was encouraged to take advantage of the situation as well as the country’s over 70 million hectares of farmable land, i.e. 30 %of arable lands in ECOWAS, an estimated 40% of which is farmed. His flair for teaching drove him to also establish Olanreforward Vocational Academy which are both subsidiaries of Olanreforward and Associate Consulting and to remain a skills instructor with NYSC.
Before the intervention: He had five workers.
After the intervention: He now has twenty workers.
Before the intervention: He was making 1,200,000 naira per annum. After the intervention: He now makes 5,000,000 per annum.
Milestone achieved after the intervention
Following the TEF EP 12 weeks training, he had won the Business Plan Pitching Competition during Global Entrepreneurship Program in West Africa in February 2019 and emerged as one of outstanding 250 SMEs in Nigeria by ConnectNigeria with support of Union Bank May, 2018. He is currently expanding his agribusiness with the support of International breweries foundation and Tony Elumelu Foundation grant to create more employment and empower more youths with skill in agribusiness and business development.