Many entrepreneurs are driven by a passion to solve societal problems. For Mayowa Oladipo, co-founder of NibblesNG – a subsidiary of Maykol Integrated Service, his driving force is to ensure that employees and busy Lagosians consume healthy and wholesome street foods.
He and his co-founder’s food inspiration came directly from personal experiences and a love for local cuisine as well as the need to ensure employees and busy Lagosians get easy access to healthy street foods.
After doing some research on the food industry, Mayowa, and Adenike Oladipo, his fellow co-founder establish NibblesNG in 2020.
“We started preliminary research and set up in 2019 with initial plans to launch in Q1, 2020. The pandemic however changed plans and we had to defer the start of operations till September 2020,” he says.
Today, NibblesNG is a real celebration of Nigeria’s food industry, with its essence created from local and traditional ingredients that are unique.
Mayowa and Adenike started their business with N2.5million, money they raised from their savings and family and friends.
“Our initial start-up capital was N2.5million. We pulled funds from our savings and started the business. About growth, we are taking baby steps and growing slowly,” the young entrepreneur says.
He tells Start-Up-Digest that their business has grown tremendously since starting their operation owing to global standards adopted in production and excellent customer service, as well as repeated patronage and high referral rates from their previous customers
NibblesNG currently has five full-time and three part-time employees.
He notes that the business plans to increase its reach by equipping its logistics team in the long run and plans to establish a food tourism centre where indigenous southwestern meals will be constantly showcased in the short run.
He says the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the business growth owing to delay in returning employees to the office by many organisations, especially on Lagos Island.
“The pandemic led to change in work arrangements with most offices shutting down and advising staff to work from home. A good majority of these offices are still not fully open so our target market is greatly reduced,” he says.
The business has resorted to family/bulk servings of the menu and extended delivery to mainlands areas to survive the difficult moment of the pandemic.
Speaking on what the business is doing differently, he says the business limits its menu to only freshly made indigenous food and strictly uses naturally grown raw materials for its food. It also makes use of eco-friendly packaging materials.
“Timing and accessibility are also unique offerings which we bring to the table as we start deliveries from 7 am to ensure that customers can have breakfast before work starts and also offer delivery and pick up services,” he says.
In evaluating the Nigerian agricultural sector, he says agriculture is the country’s new gold and its future. “More interventions are coming up to support agricultural startups as well. If we keep up this energy, a couple of years from now, the nation will begin to reap the dividends of a healthy agricultural sector.”
It has not all been rosy for the entrepreneur as an upsurge in food prices has continued to impact negatively on his business.
To address this, he urges the government to accelerate its investments into the agricultural sector to help boost farmers’ productivity and stabilise food prices.
On his advice to other entrepreneurs, ‘Your ideas are worth birthing, move beyond the obstacles and bring them to life.”