A 27-year-old Kaduna-based entrepreneur and ex-corps member, Henrietta Gimbiya-Barde, says she grew a N6,000 agro-processing business to N2.5 million and six employees in three years.
“After the one-year NYSC in 2019, I began searching for a job with little success, and the entrepreneurship in me began taking over. Because of my flair for advertising, I began marketing a friend’s product who processed finger millet, got customers and supplied the products for a little token.
“After a while, my friends stopped production, and I kept getting calls from my customers asking for the product. That was when I decided to go into the processing business since I already have a customer base,” explained Gimbiya-Barde.
Ms Gimbiya-Barde added that she started with fonio grain blended with date fruits, ginger and cloves, a N3,000 packaging machine, a labelling sticker, packaging nylon and other basic materials that cost just N6,000.
“I sold the first batch of the product in two days and ploughed back the profit into the business and continued to expand by adding more products,” the ex-corps member noted.
“I sell 500 grams of tamba and tom brown for N850 each; 500 grams of millet blended with tamarind goes for N750, 500 grams of blended fonio N1,000 while the 1kg pure fonio goes for N1,600.” She disclosed that a kilogramme of wheat flour cost N1,500; one kilogramme of white beans flour cost N1,500; one kilogramme of plantain flour N2,200; 500ml of chilli spices cost N1,200; and 500ml of ginger powder cost N1,000.
“The products are certified by the National Food, Drugs Administration and Control, and we are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment,” Ms Gimbiya-Barde added.
The young entrepreneur said that apart from selling directly to individuals and supermarkets in Kaduna, she currently has distributors in Zaria, Abuja, Lagos, Nasarawa, Plateau and Delta. Ms Gimbiya-Barde, however, said her inability to access needed capital had slowed her immediate goal of distributing the products across the 36 states of the federation.