My Business & I Series : I put my business on my head as if my whole life depended on it – Ishola Modupe Olanrewaju

Popularly known as Iya Ologi, an Osun based businesswoman, Ishola Modupe Olanrewaju has said she is so much involved in her business that people hardly know her real names. The woman who makes powdered Corn Flour in different flavours spoke to the AC crew about her business, her challenges and dreams. Here are the excerpts in My Business & I series.

AC: Can we meet you?

Oroki: I am Ishola Modupe Olanrewaju. Popularly known as Oroki. I’m in my late 30s, a graduate of Biology from the University of Ibadan and a Masters’ degree holder from the Obafemi, Awolowo University, married with kids.

AC: When did you start your business and what motivated you?

Oroki: I started my business during the COVID 19 lockdown. Motivation? Let me say it’s a divinely motivated one. I was idle during the COVID 19 as also as a NPower beneficiary then, I collected the last salary and at that point, I said to myself that I had to start something doing and that was how it started

Oroki Foods’ Variety of Pap Products. Photo: Oroki Foods

AC: What are the challenges as an entrepreneur?

Oroki : Challenges as an entrepreneur especially for someone like me in the production business is not a small thing. Regular supply of electricity is one of the major challenges. Then other challenges like facilities, access to funding and then relating with regulatory agencies are there as well. They are many to mention but a few.

AC: How are you trying to sort the challenges out?

Oroki: Honestly it has not been easy. I have lost a lot of customers due to late delivery especially when it comes to the baby cereal (popularly known as Tom Brown and the powder pap) because of my low machine capacity and electricity. Sorting it out is a very big challenge. I will have to wait until one gets dried, before loading another one for a process that takes like 24 hours to produce like 10kg. It has not been an easy one. But I hope and believe that I will get a bigger one which costs nothing less than N3.4m by God’s grace soon.

AC: What one major challenge have you been able to solve permanently and which one problem still stays with you till today?

Oroki: I will say grinding. We use two different grinders. I have one that has been purchased. This machine has solved a problem permanently. However, the other machine, which is a bigger machine for grinding powder has not been bought because I cannot afford it now. Also, I have issues with drying machines too. They are in grades and levels. For now, I have like three grinding machines that are worth close to N1m. Yet, I still can’t meet up with orders from customers because of low capacity.

Oroki Mixed Grains Pap. Photo: Oroki Foods

AC: What opportunities are there for entrepreneurs?

Oroki: One of the major opportunities for me is meeting people and not just people but relevant ones that could give further connection. It has really helped me a lot.  Another opportunity for entrepreneurs is the accelerated growth in wealth. They say a salary will make you rich but entrepreneurship will make you wealthy.

AC: Where do you see Oroki Foods in the next five years?

Oroki: By God’s grace, Oroki Foods must have been registered with all the necessary agencies both home and abroad and by then it must have been able to export its products outside Nigeria.  

AC: How have social media platforms helped you in the course of promoting your business?

Oroki: Social media has really helped my business promotion activities. In fact, it is my starting point for my promotion. This was because starting my kind of business in a place where I was a stranger then (we just relocated to Osogbo) would have been difficult if not for the social platforms. The social media it was the reason I did not really find it hard to link up and get customers at all. I really made use of the social media and it helped me a lot. As a matter of fact, I got 90% of my customers online.

AC: As a holder of two degrees, how easy was it for you to transiting into the Ogi business considering that fact a lot of graduates would look down on such business because of their certificate?

Actually, my certificates were the last thing I ever thought of. Right from the first day, I put my business on my head as if my whole life depends on it. On my page, my friends can testify to it that I call myself Ologi ni mi oo. I remember during my oral exam for my Master’s dissertation, my supervisor kept referring to me as Ologi. The external examiner had to ask why she was referring to me as Ologi. It has been part of me that many people don’t know my real name. They call me Ologi and I’m proud of it.

AC: What is your advice for young and upcoming entrepreneurs?

Oroki: My advice is that anyone who is just coming up should not compare themselves with those that have started before them. Then, they should not despise the days of humble beginnings

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