From using her personal savings from NYSC to establishing her own food processing firm: The inspiring story of Chinomso Idam

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with over 200,000,000 people living in the West African country. The country has one of the world’s most youthful populations with over 40% of the country’s total population aged 0-18 years. Africa as a whole, according to the United Nations, has the youngest population in the world, with 70% of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30. Such a high number of young people is an opportunity for the continent’s growth – but only if these new generations are fully empowered and equipped to realise their best potential.

According to a report published by Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the continent of Africa has the highest percentage of entrepreneurs among working-age adults of any continent in the world, with women making up the majority of entrepreneurs on the continent, but they have fewer profitable businesses and lesser opportunities.

Notwithstanding that, young female entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the continent as a whole are taking the lead in the world of business. I met a young, vibrant, and hardworking Nigerian female entrepreneur by the name of Chinomso Idam, a Food Scientist from Afikpo North LGA in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Chinomso Idam has a BSc. In Food Science and Technology and MSc. in Food Quality Control and Assurance. As a young woman in her mid-twenties, Chinomso Idam is the CEO and Founder of Kocid Global Foods Enterprise, a food processing firm she founded in November 2019 that provides/sells healthy and safe food products like Kocid probiotic yoghurt and Kocid coconut chin-chin, to its customers.

I interviewed Chinomso via WhatsApp to tell us her inspiring and compelling story as an entrepreneur. Here is what she has to say:

Q. When did you start Kocid Global Foods Enterprise?

Chinomso Idam: I started it in November 2019. Became fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission Nigeria on the same November 2019.

Q. Who or What inspired you to start Kocid Global Foods Enterprise?

Chinomso Idam: Studying Food Science made me discover the diverse products I can come up with, it made me appreciate the reactions that go on in foods. I started nursing with the idea of going into food processing in my final year as an undergraduate (2015). My passion became more intense after I started an MSc program (2018). Today we have 3 workers in our team.

Q. What does KOCID Global Foods Enterprise do/specialized in?

Chinomso Idam: We’re interested in new product development utilizing available food raw materials. Currently, we have two products on the market; Kocid probiotic yoghurt and Kocid coconut chin-chin. For instance, our coconut chin-chin was born out of the need of increasing the use of coconut crops. Our probiotic yoghurt drink is such that contains live culture making it a healthier drink.

Q. Before you established Kocid Global Foods Enterprise, what else were you doing?

Chinomso Idam: Initially, I was focused on rounding up my Master’s degree program. But as the program went on, I realized I needed to start off or watch another person take up my dreams. I used my savings from compulsory one year National Youth Service to trade on fabrics. I would go to Aba in Abia state Nigeria to buy these fabrics and sell them, my reason was to multiply the money I had to be able to get the key pieces of equipment to start off. Same time I took up part-time home lessons for two families, where I tutored kids between the ages of 5 and 7 years. Both hustles gave me the start-up capital I used for Kocid Global Foods Enterprise. I stopped fabric business in 2019 and teaching mid last year so I can concentrate fully on Kocid.

Q. As a young female entrepreneur, what are the challenges you face with your company and how do you manage to overcome some of them?

Chinomso Idam: One of the major challenges I’m facing currently is getting more finance to scale up and get registered with necessary bodies so I can penetrate more markets. Another challenge is the ever-increasing cost of production, every cost of raw materials plus utility bills keeps skyrocketing. Logistics on the other hand is taking a toll on us too, as we rely on transport companies for dispatch (we don’t have a delivery truck yet). How do we manage some? We keep applying for grants to scale up. One day soon we’ll be lucky. We currently use most of our profit to get the types of equipment we can. We just increased our product’s selling price. We hope to get a vehicle for delivery soon.

Q. How do you manage to upkeep Kocid Global Foods Enterprise in the midst of a global crisis?

Chinomso Idam: I have the best team and support I need from family, friends and customers. I can’t thank God enough too, he’s been the foundation on which KOCID is built. His grace makes our little efforts blossom

Q. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Chinomso Idam: I see KOCID fully registered with the necessary regulatory bodies. I see us in our own factory with more staff. I see us having a formidable team of directors I see us being on the shelve of every supermarket in Nigeria and beyond I see us having huge export deals.

Q. What is your advice to young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, and the continent as a whole?

Chinomso Idam: You don’t have to wait to have it all figured out to start. Start with what you have, consistently building and in no distant time the world will hear your story. Follow entrepreneurs who have walked the path and learn from them (likes of Sir Strive Masiyiwa, Tony Elumelu, and Dangote to mention but a few.

Q. Your message to your customers and clients?

Chinomso Idam: Thank you all for standing by us. Your patronage, support, referrals and reviews are the reason we have made it thus far. We remain dedicated to bringing healthy and safe foods to your doorstep. God bless you all. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. I look forward to more

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583