Ekemini Okokon

Ekemini Enefiok Okokon is a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Effiat Offot in Uyo local government area. She is a graduate of linguistics and Nigerian Languages from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Ekemini ventured into her line of business to pay her school fees and also cater to her needs.

It all happened when she got admission and didn’t know where to get the money to get started. She applied for jobs but was denied one as the employers kept telling her that she would not be able to handle work with schooling simultaneously. The rejections made her launch her business in July 2017, the same year she got admission into the University.

She already had the basic knowledge of how to make confectioneries like cake, chin chin, doughnuts, and pancakes from secondary school, so she got started with this knowledge.  Moreover, as she progressed, she acquired more knowledge of the business from YouTube as she didn’t have the money to enrol in a catering school. She also purchased materials from online bakers and carried out the practical on her own.

Ekemini affirms that one can make money from her business. In her words, “Yes one can make money on a daily basis from all the businesses I have established for example every day is someone’s birthday and aside from baking for birthdays, cakes can be published and sold at the supermarket. Bread is bought on a daily basis and we sell bread every day because people eat bread every day, it is one of the fastest-selling products in any supermarket or shop. Also, our quick meals like custards are available in different flavours ranging from strawberry, chocolate, banana, vanilla and milk flavour, this is one product that eternity will not exhaust because both adults and children can consume it. With the increasing information on proper health management, we also have products like wheat meal, millet, cocoyam flour mix cereals etc., which are totally natural and can be consumed by anyone who is working their diet or dealing with any health-related issues.”

Ekemini started her business with a startup capital of one thousand seven hundred naira (1700) and the butter her church member gifted her. She used the money to buy 1kg of flour and other ingredients to prepare chin chin. When she realized that people enjoyed the chin-chin, she started making doughnuts, cakes and then custards and the brand kept on expanding.

Ekemini Okokon

Her high point was her ability to organize a successful training session in 2020/2021. Although she was not an expert in the business yet, she paid other skilled bakers to take part in the training session. She realized the sum of ten thousand naira after the training and used it to register her business with NAFDAC.

Talking about her low point, Ekemini avers, “The NAFDAC registration was not a success because I didn’t have N10,000 naira to balance up for the rented factory space which was 60,000 naira. I paid N50,000 so on the inspection date I was told that the factory was closed, for the first time I ignored my guts and I regretted it.  NAFDAC scheduled another inspection for me twice but I couldn’t meet up because of N10,000 when I finally had the money I went to the office to start from where I stopped but I was told that the receipt had an expiry date which was one year after registration so the money I paid for the registration and the space went just like that”.

She laments that there were times she failed to deliver standard products due to insufficient funds for the job, and she would spend the whole payment on the job and would be left with no profit.

She further recounts how she failed to get money from a man who promised to fund her business because she got involved in an accident the day she wanted to go and get the money from the man and couldn’t reach him until he relocated which made her so sad. Another low point in the business was when she couldn’t secure a workspace because of a lack of funds. She kept moving from one working space to the other until she eventually brought her business back to the house.

Ekemini has never thought about giving up in the face of challenges, she always proffers solutions to her problems. According to her, the current challenge she is facing in her business is the inability to distribute her product to different sales points due to lack of vehicle and she cannot board a vehicle as the price is very high.

She does not work alone, she does the production and supply while she employs someone to help in the tidying of the kitchen after production. Her business is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Ekemini wants policymakers and investors to assist her with funds, business structures, and strategies to expand her expand her business.

Contact: 09054183976, kemysoloved@gmail.com

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