Three budding entrepreneurs, Morenikeji Ewaoluwa, Akpokodje Shalom and Owoyele Damilola Ebenezer, have emerged as the winners in the maiden edition of The Big Break with FoodCo contest held recently.
Big Break with FoodCo, organized by FoodCo Nigeria Limited, is an access-to-market initiative aimed at helping aspiring innovative entrepreneurs scale their businesses faster and reach a broader audience while creating opportunities for them to stock their products commission-free in FoodCo outlets.
Speaking on the competition, Sheba Alogbo, head, Innovation and Growth, FoodCo, stated that it was keenly contested and was open to young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30.
According to her, the craftsmanship, innovation, industry and zeal demonstrated by the winners stood them out from among the pool.
She said: “We received entries from several young entrepreneurs from across the country who were put through a series of pitching sessions before a panel of judges in the first round of selection. For many of them, this was their first time formally pitching their business and we are optimistic that the learnings from the exercise will prove invaluable as they navigate the often-testy waters of entrepreneurship.
“As a brand, FoodCo is proud to have been an enabler of their aspirations at this stage of their journey and we believe that the investments we continue to make towards supporting the local SME community will ultimately translate to mutual benefits for all stakeholders,” she added.
Nineteen-year-old Morenikeji Ewaoluwa, CEO, The House of Ewa, the youngest among the winners, described the opportunity as a big boost to her business.
She stated: “The experience has been amazing and I am excited because it will help in driving awareness and sales for my brand of bags. It will also help me achieve my ultimate goal of putting a bag in the hands of every Nigerian, starting from my base in Ibadan.”
For 21-year-old Akpokodje Shalom, a university student and founder of Crisp Clothing and Apparel, the win will increase the reach of his business at no extra cost.
“Before now, our marketing strategy was majorly direct sales and marketing via social media channels as well as referrals. With this win, I can connect with even more customers without stretching my marketing budget. I would like to say a big thank you to FoodCo for the opportunity,” he said.
Owoyele Damilola Ebenezer, 27 years old, the owner of Eben Royal Global Heritage, a beekeeping and honey production business, said: “Typically, I do my marketing through word-of-mouth or scout around for stores that are willing to accept my products. Now, I can better organize my marketing strategy and expose my products to a wider range of customers.
“I am excited because FoodCo has a huge presence in South-West Nigeria and this partnership will help in distributing my products across the region.”