Ehime Eigbe-Akindele is the Founder of Sweetkiwi, a healthy food brand. In 2019, she led a team to launch her delicious Whipped Greek Yogurt in the US market. Ehime is a Visa grant recipient, a Sara Blakely X Spanx Grant Recipient, Acumen 2021 West African Fellow, the winner of the Black Girls Venture DC pitch competition and many other awards.
Ehime is also a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women scholar and ambassador. She is certified for Cultured Dairy and Ice cream production from Penn State University. As Founder and Creative Director of Sweetkiwi, Ehime is passionate about creating healthy foods that inspire her from all over the world.
Ehime Eigbe-Akindele in this Smartpreneur live session themed Making Money from your Passion, talks about how SweetKiwi was birthed, the early days of the business, challenges faced and turning passion into business.
On breaking into the Nigerian market
It was all about sampling and getting people to taste the product. Allowing people experience it, especially for products people don’t know. Give them the chance to try before buying.
On wider reach with a small budget
Do pop-up retail. Use LinkedIn to your advantage. Reach out to people and see how to make them try your product samples. Investors check to see what you have on ground already and gauge target customers’ interest in your new product before they can release funds to you. There are grant programs and accelerators you could partake in.
On recruiting the right people/team
I went through a lot of challenges in doing this. You have to understand what it takes to hire the right persons. It’s also not all about the people you’re hiring because you could hire the best of the best and still deal with headaches when the right culture and structure aren’t in place. Consultants can step in to help your business create the HR process that fits best.
Challenges faced and how they were managed
The challenges we faced were infrastructure, funding, looking for more people to believe in the business and referrals. Being part of different communities helps with resources to combat business challenges and contributes to the staying power of your business. Having vision holders is also instrumental because they keep you accountable and motivate you to remain focused on your goal.
On dealing with copycats and competition
You have to focus on you but competition is great. It sometimes leads you to an even greater destiny. Competition is a source of creativity and innovation. It leads to more originality.
On determining whether or not your passion can become a business
Put your idea through testing, ask questions, give out product samples. It’s important to find a gap and fill that gap with your idea through your products.
Even when you successfully turn your passion into a business, you need to continue with constant research, learning and innovations. Create a relationship with your consumers, collate feedback and work with them for improvement.
Watch full session here