Onyekachi Ekezie is the CEO of Kaptain Foods, a Nigerian food processing company that produces and packages pre-cooked ready-to-eat stews using locally grown fresh produce and spices.
The thought of becoming an entrepreneur and business owner dropped into his mind subconsciously as a solution to a craving. Living (and studying) in the United States, Onyekachi longed for the African stews and soups on which he was raised back home in Nigeria.
After graduation, he worked with Halliburton ESG in Houston as a field engineer and then Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technology as a software support engineer for a total of eight years but the craving to plug the gaping hole of his want persisted until he was forced to sit and think for a solution for him and hundreds of other people facing a similar situation.
Next step was to put his faith in his idea into practice. He quit his job and returned home to Nigeria.
Kaptain Foods Limited was born. Established in 2015, it is a food processing company which produces a blend of pre-cooked and packaged food products to serve the needs of families around the world.
His company produces a range of pre-cooked and packaged ready to eat tomato stews using locally grown fresh produce and spices. Other product variants include ready-to-eat, blend of fresh tomatoes, red peppers and onions prepared with state-of-art equipment in compliance with internationally recognized hygiene standards.
The early days when he started out of his apartment and the tiring engagement with regulatory authorities as well as unending negotiations with suppliers of ingredients as well as recruitment of staff.
The all-too familiar challenge that Onyekachi faced was that of start-up capital but he got succour from family and the United States’ Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2015.
Kaptain Foods Limited benefited from the USAID’s Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport programme which assisted agro-entrepreneurs in the country develop business plans, generate investments, and promote exports.
Onyekachi has also had to overcome the perception that his line of business – food processing – is gender-biased. He claims that processing, manufacturing, packaging and distribution of food is a commercial venture that is not synonymous with a particular gender.
Kaptain Foods Limited products have cornered the market in such a short time because they have a secret condiment which gives them the delicious, fresh, unique taste consumers want.
The fact that they do not contain any chemical additives or artificial preservatives as the natural ingredients serve as preservatives set the company’s product apart from the competition.
A little more than a year after he began his business, Ekezie was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa in 2017.
For Onyekachi, entrepreneurship is risk taking and to become successful as an entrepreneur, Onyekachi reckons that you’ll need to be innovative, be a daring risk-taker and have hands-on management skills.