Ope Olanrewaju is a Nigerian entrepreneur and founder of Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics (KCCL), a start-up based in Kwara State and focused on helping farmers and processors transport their fresh fruit and vegetable produce to any part of the country, using excellent end-to-end cold chain logistics while preserving their natural nutrients.
Ope was inspired to establish Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics (KCCL) after suffering a major loss from his investment in poultry production in 2013.
He started his entrepreneurship journey as an agripreneur in the poultry industry.
The business then suffered a major loss when an outsourced cold chain truck hired to transport his processed chicken to clients outside Kwara State malfunctioned. This led to spoilage and eventual rejection of the products by customers.
It also led to a total collapse of the business, and that shifted his interest to the logistics industry.
He identified a huge opportunity in the industry and decided to venture into it. In 2014, he established his own cold chain logistic business.
“We were into the poultry business and I ran a broiler production and processing business,” he recalls.
“I supplied over five tons of frozen chicken per batch to major retail stores across the country,” Ope says.
“In 2013, we outsourced a cooling truck to deliver our products to customers and retail stores and it malfunctioned and the products got spoilt. Our customers rejected them and this led to the total collapse of the business then,” Ope says.
“We wanted to change the narrative of logistics business in the country and help farmers like me transport their products while ensuring that their natural nutrients are preserved,” he explains.
“Today we are actively promoting freshness and food safety in Nigeria as well as helping several businesses in the nutrition value chain to deliver fresh and nutritious foods to their clients anywhere in the country,” he says.
To start the business, Ope sold all the equipment of his poultry business and used the proceeds to invest into the new business.
Since starting, he has not taken any loan from money deposit banks but has been able to secure some grants.
In 2018, Ope emerged as the SUN Business Network Africa nutrition winner and his business was given a grant, training and mentorship.
Since then, the start-up has become one of the fastest growing logistics businesses in the country as hunt for more nutritious food increases daily among the younger population.
“We have been able to acquire two cooling trucks and we recently got a fully automated packing house under lease. Our market has been well tested, proof of concept validated,” he boasts.
Answering questions on the organisation’s expansion plans, the young entrepreneur says that Kennis-O Cold Chain Logistics plans to purchase a solar-powered refrigerated mobile cooling truck in the first quarter of 2019.
He stated that the goal of the organisation is to increase Nigeria’s food preservation rate and reduce wastages by five percent within the next five years.
Speaking on the challenges confronting his business, the young entrepreneur says that the biggest challenge confronting his business is the country’s poor road infrastructure.
He notes that huge infrastructural gaps have continued to drive the cost of production and increase delivery time, thus making it difficult for the business.
Similarly, he identifies poor power infrastructure as another major challenge. “The main roadblock of growth in the cold chain industry is high energy consumption cost,” he says.
Ope urges the government to develop the country’s infrastructure to drive growth and industrialisation. He also calls for the stimulation of policies to drive and unlock economic growth and development.
On advice to younger entrepreneurs, he says, “Execution is everything. Always keep building, test it fast in the market, learn and re-strategise.”