28-year-old Dubai based Nigerian businesswoman, Gbemi Giwa has channel her passion for African food to promote it in the city.
She has been running a successful food business since 2018 and is now working on her main project – ‘Catfish.’
Giwa’s mission is to spread the word about African cuisine and make it more accessible to people living in Dubai. She believes that food should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their
background or nationality. Through her business, she hopes to bring the unique flavors of African cuisine to the forefront and make it more widely available.
Giwa, who refers to herself as a ‘Serial entrepreneur started out as an influencer and launched several businesses in the glistening Middle Eastern emirate by the time she turned 26. Now made a conscious effort to focus solely on her core competencies. The food business passion project remains Catfish, an online restaurant serving a healthy twist on African dishes that was launched in Dubai in 2018.
Giwa had a difficult year in 2020 when Covid struck, and for the first time, she experienced a significant loss with the closure of my restaurant concepts, forcing her to restart with a larger focus on building a COVID-proof business with a deeper focus on digital. After a few “tough
decisions” and the changes and pitfalls that the Covid-19 pandemic brought, Giwa realized she needed to focus on one serious endeavor when she was forced to close Gbemi’s Kitchen, the physical restaurant she opened in 2019 at the Jumeirah Lake Towers in Dubai serving authentic Nigerian food.
Giwa began by launching Digiboss, an advisory firm that helps women in business create their personal online profile, in order to establish themselves as thought leaders while consistently attracting profitable partnership opportunities. She was strongly motivated to teach millennial women how to build an impactful personal brand by taking profitable steps to validate their creative ideas. She used the same method she taught her clients and was successful in
securing financing to reopen my restaurant Catfish just as the pandemic was coming to an end.
I’m currently navigating our foray into e-commerce and retail by acquiring a part of the expanding ready-to-eat industry.
Giwa is not new to the food industry. In 2014, she launched Dubai Fit Foodie, a wellness blog she describes as her “longest-paying side hustle,” while attending design school. Her early love
for African food was shaped by her childhood, and she wanted to give it the respect it deserved.
A year later, she turned her love for dancing by launching dance classes in Dubai, teaching Afrofit, which she calls her “second longest-paying side hustle”.She is also specialized in creating
effective digital campaigns for local and international brands in the Middle East in 2016. A year later, she ventured back into business, launching a boutique agency specializing in branding and
content creation for F&B concepts.
Even as a 16-year-old on a plane from Lagos to Dubai to attend the American University of Sharjah, Giwa dreamed of creating content and having an impactful career. Even if it meant going
against the grain and saying “no” multiple times to her now-deceased father, a businessman who took a keen interest in her professional journey.
Giwa is fortunate to find herself in Dubai. According to her, Dubai is one f the simplest places to do business, particularly if you know the right people and have the money you can learn from
Just like Gbemi Giwa, every businessman or woman is passionate about their hustle, and that is how it should be. What are you passionate about and unashamed to call your hustle?
Start it now, you never can tell, it could be where your millions will roll in from.