Our Lady Boss today is an enterprising woman who keeps pushing the boundaries as an entrepreneur. She started her journey by launching the successful frozen yogurt brand, Sweet Kiwi and today, she has a health food bar to her name and an upcoming Mongolian restaurant. Enjoy our interview with Ehime Akindele as she takes us into her world and her passion as an entrepreneur.
Hello Ehime. Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Ehime Eigbe Akindele and I am the founder of Sweet Kiwi frozen yogurt and Beet Root healthy food bar. Sweet Kiwi is a company that sells premium fat free frozen yogurt in a wide variety of flavours while Beet Root is a salad bar which allows customers select the vegetables and protein that goes into their salads.
Can you tell us about Beetroot? Why did you diversify into making healthy food?
Sweet Kiwi is in the healthy food space so it was not so much a diversification but an extension. Beet Root is geared towards helping people eat healthy and have more control of their dining experience. Beet Root makes smoothies, Salads, Salad Wraps our menu is continuously growing as we respond to our customer needs.
What makes Beetroot different from all other healthy food bars in Lagos?
Beet Root is not just a healthy food bar but also a healthy eating experience. Our Salad wrap is extremely unique as we offer various wrap flavours made with the customer’s selection of vegetables and protein. Our clients are at the heart of what we do.
You are also about to launch a new restaurant. Can you tell us what inspired this?
We are working on a Mongolian Grill called Cinggis. This was my very first business venture, a lot of people do not know this but my goal was to open a Mongolian restaurant along with Sweet Kiwi but upon entry into the Nigerian market, we thought it would be easier to break into the market with Sweetkiwi first and introduce our other brands later.
Business in Nigeria can be challenging. As an entrepreneur, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how were you able to overcome them?
We face a multitude of challenges; one of them is the current economic recession, which has been quite tough on our business. The government policies do not seem to be supportive of small businesses. We are still working on overcoming that. Power generation is another major problem which the only solution available is to generate our own power and significantly increase our expenses.
You must run a very busy schedule. How do you create time for other things apart from business?
I find it is important to create a good work life balance. It is hard but I do make an effort to take breaks, go on holiday and sometimes-just switch off. I have started learning a lot of delegating and having the company run without me being involved in every aspect.
Do you agree with the notion that women cannot have it all?
I think you can try to have it all, like in every thing in life you just have to try and do your best. I believe in never saying ‘never’ or using words like ‘cannot’, it is a very negative limiting word.
In your entrepreneurial journey, what are you most grateful for?
I am grateful for the impact we have been able to make, my personal growth and most especially for the people who support me and what I do, their support means the world and helps me keep it together during the difficult times.
Tell us three things you would love to be remembered for
I would love to be remembered as a visionary who changed how people perceive Nigerian brands.
I would love to lead a revolution that enables exportation of Nigerian brands to other countries; it is time we start selling our own franchises to other countries instead of buying that of other countries.
I want to be remembered as a fighter. A strong woman, who never quits until she achieves her objectives.
What advice do you have for a young woman who wants to be successful like you but is currently finding things difficult?
Just hang in there, keep working at it everyday. A journey of a million miles starts with little steps. Just keep at it.