Are successful entrepreneurs born or made? The type of business you venture into, is a product of your interest, your environment and the goals you have set for yourself.
For Olubunmi Oluwasina of SANE farms and kitchen, she delved into entrepreneurship because the idea of being financially dependent didn’t sit well with her. But then, what to do is another thing to grapple with. She figured that it was easy for her to add value and impact the lives of people based on what she knew and gained satisfaction from.
She is one of those whose entrepreneurial journeys were born out of what they had always surrounded themselves with. In her case, Agriculture and farming. As a graduate of Agricultural Economics and Extension, she went on to apply for an NYSC credit facility which she used to kickstart a farm business. Olubunmi was able to get the fund due to her learnings from managing a small farm land, poultry and egg production while in the university.
Today, Olubunmi is the co-founder of SANE farms and kitchen. Services Ascerta Nigeria Enterprises (SANE) is a company registered in 2012, selling fresh farm produce directly from the farm at competitive prices. The business also offers tasty delicacies to companies for workforce enjoyment.
Smartpreneur host, Pelumi Shittu had a chat with the entrepreneur and Smartpreneur Tribe member. In the session, Olubunmi shared her entrepreneurship journey, highlighting how she settled for farm business and how she has mastered the art of turning challenges into money making opportunities.
Pelumi Shittu of Smartpreneur (PS): How did you venture into the world of entrepreneurship?
Olubunmi Oluwasina (OO): I have a thing for making money. I remember going to collect my primary six certificate and I used the opportunity to go to the market to get something to sell in front of my house. I don’t like being dependent on people, I find it difficult asking people for money. I prefer giving. All through my primary, secondary and tertiary education, I was involved in one thing or the other to make money. Inspiration would come, I would see opportunities around and I would key into them. That is why I’m where I am today.
PS: Your business is comprised of two sections, the farm and the kitchen. How do you manage both?
OO: We have a team and everyone is assigned duties. We also key into technology. We don’t necessarily have to go a physical market to sell our farm produce. We leverage on online platforms to market and sell.
PS: How were you able to kick off and sustain your business?
OO: I actually studied Agricultural Economics and Extension and the passion has always been there. Apart from the theories I was taught in school, I was able to practise. Back in school, I went to someone on campus who gave me a very small piece of land and I planted cassava and maize. I had a small cage in my hostel to rear rabbits and poultry. Then I was not selling my produce, I was only producing to eat.
During my NYSC, I was introduced to a program for loans, I wrote a proposal based on my experiences in poultry and egg production and I got a N250,000 loan. I used the money to kickstart a poultry business back then.
As of today, we sell chicken, goat and other farm produce online, that space is a global market. We have never sold in an open or physical market. We sell online and we always have more demand than what we supply.
PS: How do you handle challenges that come with farming such as seasons?
OO: Challenges are opportunities in disguise from my experience. During the poultry feed price hike crisis, we conducted a research and we started soilless planting to cover up the gap. In fact, we went ahead to hold paid training sessions for people. So, through that challenge, we discovered a solution and we made money by training others, teaching them this solution.
Funding is also a challenge but when you have the willingness to succeed, challenges become opportunity. Some People or companies, see our business online and are moved to invest.
PS: Now that you mentioned funding, how should people go about seeking funds for a farm business?
OO: Because of the risks involved in farm business, banks are not always willing to give loans to farmers based on my experience. The money I got from an NYSC program helped in the beginning. I also worked in a company for about six years and I had monthly savings. I invested the money on my farming business.
SANE Farms and kitchen was built based on what we had at the initial stage, then along the line people started showing interesting in the business.
We started small and when we made profits, we would invest more. When people see our output, it makes it easy for them to trust us with their money. We are not really depending on loans.
PS: What do you love about owning a business?
OO: I appreciate the fact that I can be creative. No one questions you about taking a particular route. Entrepreneurship gives me the opportunity to try what God has laid in my heart and the result has been very encouraging. I also enjoy being able to the impact knowledge. People see what we do online and they come to us to ask questions, we have been able to train a lot of people and bring up new farmers based on what we have tried and tested in our own farms.
PS: So, what is your advice to entrepreneurs in all industries?
OO: As an entrepreneur in any industry, you should prioritize quality. Go all out, learn, unlearn. Promise your best and deliver. Your customers shouldn’t complain because of a huge mistake you made. Quality products and services are very key.
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