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Visionaries - June 16, 2022

5 Trailblazing Food Entrepreneurs in Africa

The food business is one of the fastest rising industries, which has birthed many promising entrepreneurs in Africa.

Apart from making food available and accessible, these entrepreneurs use their businesses to spread the rich culture and food variety that is unique to Africans to the rest of the globe.

According to Ndidi Nwuneli in her book, “Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses”, these entrepreneurs are, therefore, vital to the continent. Due to this, the agricultural and food industries are expected to grow by over a trillion dollars by 2030.

Here are food entrepreneurs in Africa leveraging the enormous potential in the industry.

Tseday Asrat – Kaldi’s Coffee (Ethiopia)

Tseday Asrat started her coffee business after the forced closure of her two successful boutiques due to city planning and reorganisation in 2003.

In 2005, she established the first Kaldi’s Coffee café and designed it to be on par with international coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa. 

As of 2019, it had opened 38 outlets with over 1,800 employees. Within the country in 2017, the coffee outlets generated 155 million birrs ($5.5m). Despite the huge revenue, she has had her fair share of business challenges, such as maintaining quality consistency.

“Rather than giving up, I viewed it as a chance to build our supply firm to ensure Kaldi’s gets the quality and quantity it requires. So I got inspired”.

Today, Tseday has diversified. She has a dairy and milk-processing business and a roastery which buys coffee on the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX).

Monica Musonda – Java Foods (Zambia)

Monica’s experience working with the wealthiest man in Africa motivated her to quit working in the Dangote group to establish Zambia-based Java Foods.

His ability to identify business opportunities whenever he visited Zambia inspired her to start seeing things differently. Spotting and seizing the opportunities led to the birth of Java Foods.

With the over-saturated market dominated by international brands, people initially doubted the ability of the brand to survive.

Within three years, the noodle brand became Zambia’s most popular instant noodle brand, accounting for 80% of Java Food’s sales.

Ebele Enunwa – Sundry Foods and Sundry Markets (Nigeria)

Ebele Enunwa founded Sundry Foods and opened his first Kilimanjaro fast food restaurant in 2004. Ever since then, it has rolled out dozens of outlets across the country.

Aside from the restaurants, he also has a corporate catering venture and bakeries. Both operate as divisions of Sundry Foods and service thousands of customers daily, contributing approximately 20% of the company’s revenue.

In 2013, he diversified when he noticed an opportunity in the supermarket business and founded Sundry Markets. He operates it under the umbrella of Market Square.

Today, it has six supermarkets to its name and some more on the way.


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Kasope Ladipo-Ajai – OmoAlata (Nigeria)

The inability to get Nigerian dishes in other countries made Kasope Ladipo-Ajai decide to bring Nigerian food to the diaspora and the world.

After identifying this market gap between Nigerian and international markets, she and her husband established OmoAlata, a food processing and services company, in 2012.

To set themselves apart from the competition, they made their product convenient. Since cooking some of the Nigerian delicacies can be time demanding, they create and deliver ready-made soups, spices, and pepper sauces from organic products.

Jennifer Bash, Alaska Tanzania Industries (Tanzania)

According to Jennifer, African countries have natural resources but cannot process and package the resources into finished products.

This led her to establish Alaska Tanzania, a food company that processes, packages and distributes a range of food products. This includes eggs, rice, maize flour, and oil to national and international retailers. 

In 2016, it was listed as one of the top fifty local brands in the country by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards.


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