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BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Kikelomo Adeniji: Entrepreneur changing game in ice cube production

With an advanced 15-ton tube machine (the first in Lagos) deployed in the production of edible ice cubes, Kikelomo Adeniji is arguably the queen of ice in Lagos. But that title is not why she started IcePlace Millennial. Health and scarcity are.

Adeniji, the founder of IcePlace Millennial, started the company to meet the demand for ice with ice cubes that are safe for consumption; hence the use of technology that filters the water before it goes into the machine to produce the ice cubes.

“We are here because of the health aspect; we know that we are producing edible ice and it is safe for consumption,” she said.

BusinessDay learnt that not all ice cubes are fit for consumption and if consumed, such ice could cause cholera, typhoid, sore throat when mixed into all kinds of drinks, including liquor. This makes it imperative and essential to use ice cubes that are safe for consumption, BusinessDay was further told.

A photo of a staff member scooping ice cube after production

On the flip side, the scarcity of ice in the hospitality and events sector inspired the establishment of the factory located somewhere in Yaba. Adeniji said she found that there was insufficient ice supply in the sectors.

Drink vendors find it difficult to access ice in Lagos, especially during festive periods and are forced to go source for ice cubes and ice blocks in Ibadan.

“So, there was a need for it,” she said, “but the supply wasn’t much. We said okay; this is an opportunity, it’s a problem that we need to solve then we jumped on the opportunity.”

Read also: Mental health in an unequal world

Staff bagging ice in a 50kg bag

Adeniji has a degree in mass communication from the University of Lagos, Akoka, and has recently just concluded a post-graduate degree in Business Administration from the National Open University of Nigeria.

She has had stints with media organisations where she worked as a presenter and has worked with Etisalat Nigeria, a telecommunications company operating in Nigeria, before making a switch to entrepreneurship to solve the dearth of ice cubes plaguing the events industry.

Adeniji said a lot of people overlook the importance of the ice cubes business, noting that event planners, hospitality, food, and beverages companies, and clubs, particularly, cannot function effectively without ice.

For her, ice is a determinant factor because, without it, a club [owner] cannot ice his drinks. “We are actually the most important person when you are planning a party,” she said, adding that the ice business is a very lucrative business in the country.

A water filtering and treatment machine.

Barely a year old, IcePlace Millennial has dealt with copious challenges ranging from the difficulty of being established in a pandemic which led to delays in setting up the machines; to the age-long challenge of electricity choking the life out of Nigerian businesses.

Adeniji has had to deal with the cost of buying a generator which she described as “another challenge,” and also the price of diesel, which she said, “keeps going high.”

But despite the bottlenecks and within a short period of starting production, she has recorded a commendable client base as she now delivers ice cubes to clubs, restaurants, lounges, hotels, event planners, and drink vendors across Lagos.

“Our weekends are always busy, my phone is always buzzing and I can say that we’ve been able to deliver edible ice, [to clients],” she said.

An advanced 15tons tube machine used in the production of ice cubes.

Her views on a thriving business in Nigeria is one of optimism, asserting that every business has the potential to thrive in the country. But value must be offered to customers for that to happen.

She said business owners need to give customers something extra from what their competitors are giving, that business owners need to learn how to make sacrifices by giving extra time, money, and other resources to enable the business to thrive.

While also recommending being innovative and scaling up with technology, treating people right, she added that they also need to be consistent in whatever brand they are pushing.

“Don’t show up today and tomorrow you are not there, the next day you show up, two days later you show up with something different, pick something and be consistent about it,” she said.

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