Ifeoluwa Tryphena Olatayo is a budding entrepreneur.
She is the CEO of Soupah Kitchen, a company that processes vegetables and spices to produce Soup Stew Mix and Soupah Efo-riro Mix. Recently, her company was nominated for award of excellence in the agriculture category and MSME of the year award in the just concluded Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) award ceremony organised by the Office of the Vice President. In this interview, she tells what spurred her into the business. Hear her:
What are the products you make?
Basically, we work with local farmers and we collect vegetables such as tomatoes, pepper and spices. We process them into various soup ingredients and Jellof mix. It has all the combination of ingredients like tomatoes and pepper, spices, herbs and salt that you could have used to cook. Once you constitute it with water, it turns into paste. Then you add your vegetable and palm oil. Within two minutes, the soup base for your Jellof rice is ready. You add your washed rice and in 15 minutes your jollof rice is ready. This makes cooking convenient for people
What spurred you into this business?
I was a student and I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was young. Then, I looked for a problem on campus, I saw that a lot of people did not want to go to the market, so I developed a product that will make cooking easy. So, I started really small. I started with a small refrigerator and a capital of N35,000. I was processing spices and combining them as ingredients. Gradually I have been able to grow and improve the business. We have made a lot of progress
How is the patronage for the product?
It’s very encouraging. We supply about 15 major super markets in Ibadan and we are now in Lagos. We are at Balogun market in Lagos and also Oke-Arin in Lagos. We supply our goods to distributors that can help us sell to the masses. We are trying to get our products to big retail stores like Spar and Shoprite.
What did you study in school?
I studied English Language at University of Ibadan. I was nominated for the award of excellence in agriculture and MSME of the year in the just concluded Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) awards organised by the Office of the Vice President.
How do you think the MSMEs awards can help spur entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
I think being recognised is great. As an entrepreneur in our environment, it takes a lot of work to be successful. So having such an avenue of being recognised is an emotional support for us. It’s encouraging because it tells you that you are relevant and what you are doing is adding to the economy (GDP) of the country; its means you are adding value to the society and you are making impact
How many people have you employed in the business?
We are a team of 15 people. We have a factory and we have our retail stores where we sell our products.
How do you see this business in the next few years?
I see our business as a household name in over one million homes. We want to be able to export our products to other West African countries. People are very familiar with Jollof mix in Ghana, Senegal, Cameroun and Sierra Leone. They know Jollof rice, so being able to export our product to other neighbouring African countries is one of our targets in the next few years.
Have you broken even in business profitable?
Oh yes! We are a profitable venture. Although we are social in our approach, the business is profitable.