Ehime Akindele founded Your Way Foods, —which is made up of Sweet Kiwi Yogurt Cafe, Beet Root food bar and a soon to come Mongolian self serve bar— under the age of 30. A huge believer in healthy foods, Ehime actually started her career with Amnesty International.
From then, she moved to Citigroup in Dallas, Texas where she worked in their legal banking group. All that time, Ehime Akindele wanted to start her own business back in Nigeria.
She has received training certifications in restaurant management and dessert manufacturing and eventually started with Sweet Kiwi. Ehime will be celebrating the 5th year anniversary of Sweet Kiwi. While meandering the challenges of running a start-up in Nigeria, Ehime Akindele has found time to work in not-for-profit as she wants to foster the spirit of volunteerism in Nigeria.
Can you tell us about opening Sweet Kiwi? Were there any particular challenges to opening a frozen yogurt store in Lagos that you did not expect?
There were several challenges as we were the first frozen yogurt company in Nigeria. There were no existing format for operations so we had to learn a lot along the way. Still, we keep working at it.
Power was a major issue as the soft serve machines are heavy duty and are quite delicate. A lot of times, the lack of power puts us in very stressful situations. I remember the day of our Lekki store launch, we had all 5 machine fuses blow. This was literally 10 minutes before the opening speech began.Power was a major issue in running a frozen yogurt store in Nigeria - Ehime Akindele Click To Tweet
I just prayed inside; we were about to open a yogurt store and the yogurt dispensing machines just stopped working! I had to think quickly so we had a team working behind the scenes while we lengthened the speeches and prayers.
I remember Mrs. Fela- Durotoye telling me to be calm, and trying to delay the first product sample. She suggested I give a full breakdown of every item in the store. I don’t remember breathing the whole time, but we overcame it and we are now 3 years in.
When did you decide to diversify your projects with the Beet Root healthy food bar? Why did you decide to?
From the start, my plan was to have a group of companies dedicated to healthy food. I started off my actual entrepreneur career training on how to build and manage a Mongolian grill.
Beet Root was always part of the plan, we just decided to put our Sweet Kiwi first.Ehime Akindele founder of @sweetkiwie is promoting healthy food in Nigeria with her companies Click To Tweet
Any advice to women looking to expand their businesses? What three skills do they need to master before going this route?
I believe the foundation of the business has to be solid before you consider expansion. So what you’ll need to do is perfect your operations and pay attention to economical forecasts.
The three skill I would say young women need to master before expanding their businesses are;
- Resilience and
Do you still work a 9-5 while managing your entrepreneurial projects?
I have never worked while running my business, I quit before I began.
Why do you believe Nigeria should foster the spirit of volunteerism?
We should all aim to live a life dedicated to service to one another. I believe volunteering builds better and stronger communities. It is an opportunity to make a difference in another persons life and truly you never know what you might learn, sometimes it is as little as learning to appreciate your own situation.
What’s your favourite fro-yo flavour? Why?
This is a hard question as I have so many favourites. For right now and the key word is now, my favourite is the Strawberry Greek Yogurt.
Any motivational last words for our readers?
Be fearless in the pursuit of whatever sets your soul on fire.
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