Meet Olajide, FUTA graduate growing a global snack brand

 Meet Olajide, FUTA graduate growing a global snack brand

Amidst the academia hustle and social bustle of university life stands a distinctive figure, Olajide.

Olajide is not your typical student; he is the creative entrepreneur crafting a new narrative—one that intertwines education and entrepreneurship in a delectable way.

Join CrispNG on an expedition into Olajide’s world—a narrative etched with determination, creativity, and the irresistible crunch of his signature snack, making his journey through university life into a flavorful adventure.

Please tell us about you

I am Olajide Adebiyi, the CEO of CRISPYHONEY, a snack brand. I produce plantain chips made with honey to make it sweet crispy and nutritious for human consumption.

I’m also a data analyst proficient in using Microsoft Excel, SQL, Python and Tableau to solve organisation problems, help organisations make better informed and data driven decisions and drive organisation’s growth.

I am from Osun state, I’m in my twenties and I just finished my undergraduate studies in Industrial and production engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure.

What made you go into business and why did you choose your line of business?

I never liked business from the outset because I perceived business owners as people who go through so much stress just to ensure the business grow, but I have always ventured into business one way or the other right from my primary school days just to find small change to satisfy my present needs and wants as a child.

I have always fried plantains in large quantities at a go for my personal consumption. There was a time one of our family friends came to visit us, and there was absolutely nothing to offer them, but then my mum remembered we had a bunch of plantain on the farm, and we decided to fry the plantain for our visitor, the visitor so much liked it and encouraged me to turn it into a business but I wasn’t interested in doing business, particularly looking at the stress involved in whole production processes of plantain chips.

However, on a wonderful night with my colleagues during communication with our heavenly father, the nudging to go into the business came, but I was really confused, there and then I got the idea to mix plantain with honey as it would make my product unique and it would give me a unique selling point. As we know, not everyone likes honey or unripe plantain chips, but merging both made the outcome unique and valuable.

So, I borrowed a little quantity of honey from a senior friend, Awolola Victor and I tried it out and gave it to him and few other friends to taste. Voila! it was sweet and nice to eat. And that was how the business started.

What challenges did you face when launching your business, and how did you overcome them?

In the first couple of months of selling, I felt shy being a plantain seller as a guy, because I was taking it to sell in my department, but I had to overcome the shyness because that’s one of the things that guarantee increments in sales being able to tell people about what I do convincingly.

Can you share a notable success story or milestone in your entrepreneurial journey?

There are quite many, but I will mention a few. I had partners at some point and that brought in proper thinkers in business management and business growth which led to 300% YoY revenue growths from 2021 till now. Fiyinfoluwa Aina manages the finance of the business, while Olalekan Morawo manages the Marketing and sales.

I won two grants worth 50,000 naira in 2021. Last year I sold up 100 dozens of Crispy Honey plantain chips in a month for the first time. This year I produced 1000 dozens in a month for the first time.

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What strategies do you use in selling your product?

The strategies we use in selling our product is that we sell through student to student in higher institution, and to a large extent that is working fine in FUTA and Achievers university. At the moment, we are looking to forward to engaging other schools in South West.

How do you handle failure and setbacks in your business?

Understanding that failure and setbacks is part of the journey and that they are the major ingredients to success as an entrepreneur is something I take seriously. This is because you’ll encounter it no matter how experienced or naive you are. So, having this understanding makes me anticipate it, prepare for it almost everyday, and gives me strength to maneuver my way around.

What strategies do you use for effective time management and productivity especially factoring in schooling?

One of the things I ensure to do is to prioritize my time, knowing what to do as at when due, and doing it immediately without wasting time. I believe in academic excellence, so, I read ahead of exams, and I make use of YouTube and other social media platforms to my advantage.

If you could choose would you still combine entrepreneurship and schooling?

Yes, I would combine schooling and entrepreneurship because, for me, school is a platform for growth and networks. There are kinds of networks I have gotten, lessons that I have not learnt easily because I was in school. Getting to achieve those things might be more difficult outside the four walls of the school. Though it is stressful combining both, but I really enjoyed it.

What plans do you have for the business now that you have graduated?

We are working on securing our NAFDAC numbers at the moment so we can sell across and outside Nigeria. We are also looking forward to partner with online marts both in and outside the country like Mano and Glovo, so that everyone can enjoy the greatness in our product.

As an entrepreneur what lessons have you learnt? 

I learnt that you should be bold to tell people about what you do because, no one will buy from you if they don’t know you or your product. Also, whatever you do, you have to it excellently well, no one will come for more if what you do is not well done.

Keep learning, read books and seek for advice from business and non-business persons, but be careful as well because some advice are out of selfish interest. When I receive any advice, I ensure to take my time to understand and process it to know how it affects my business and how best i can apply it to my business. Every business is unique no matter how similar two businesses are, but lessons can always be learnt from every business.

Always give room for improvement no matter how well you think you are doing. Always ask for feedback from your customers/clients. Your family and friends are your first customers but never allow over-familiarity. Do the hard work now, continuously learn, and have global thinking at heart.

What advice do you have for the youths?

My advice is for you to know and understand yourself but never limit yourself because of what you think about yourself.

Always aim for growth in whatever path of life you have decided to engaged in. Have a global mindset and not a local mindset. Be ready to learn always, be open minded. Be humble to learn from those ahead of you. Network with people.Be hardworking. Don’t be in a rush to make it in life, everyone has different timing, don’t be slow(complacent) in making your moves, because you can be overtaken also, find the balance and go for it.

Opportunities are all around. Not all of them around you are good for you, look for the ones that applies to your vision in life and ensure to maximize them appropriately. Life is beyond school, don’t just allow school to limit your capacity in life, rather allows school to increase your opportunities.

Do other things that can make you relevant beyond school, read books, learn skills both technical and soft skills, be globally relevant. Money comes to those that are valuable and can provide value.

Above all, allow God to be the Alpha & Omega of your journey in life. That’s when you can truly enjoy life in it’s fullness

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