Growing a business is not easy in Nigeria, most startups face numerous challenges ranging from securing fund for production, power supply, marketing, and stabilization. A young man, Ocheni Onuche Simon, a graduate of Computer Science from the University of Abuja, has gone through the harrowing experience of a Nigerian producer. But today, he is standing tall to tell his story.
He rebranded the commonly known local food Every Nigerian call garri to produce several well-packaged products such as, “Kasso Flakes-Soaking Wakkis” which simply means cassava only flakes. According to him, the name ‘soaking wakkis’ simply means “soak and eat” with varieties such as meat (i.e Kilish), milk, sugar and groundnut. Others are garri with groundnut only, garri with groundnut and sugar, garri with Kulikuli better known as groundnut cake. He also has a product called “Sollo ‘G’, derived from swallow garri. This category is best for dough i.e Eba.”
He started his business on the 7th of June, 2013 with an initial capital of only N1,250.00 during his service year as a corps member. His business came to limelight when The Bank of Industry (BoI) through the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Department (SAED), an arm of the NYSC, supported him with a loan of N 3,821,659.15. This enabled him to build a factory which in turn gave rise to increased production.
He plans to ensure that his products are available in major cities of the country and become a household name. In his word, he said “We would also like to embark on the exportation of our products to overseas so as to prove to the world that Nigeria has all it takes to feed the whole world because Nigeria is ranked the highest producer of cassava tubers followed by Brazil and to take home to Nigerians in the Diaspora.”