Onyekachi Ekezie is the CEO of Kaptain Foods, a Nigerian food processing company that produces and packages pre-cooked ready-to-eat stews using locally grown fresh produce and spices.
1. Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
The toughest challenge so far has been sourcing for financing to run operations. I was able to overcome that by bringing in equity and debt financing. We are in a market where banks are not keen on lending to SMEs, so overcoming this challenge was a huge confidence boost for me.
2. What business achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of taking an innovative idea and then creating a product that the market has accepted. Customers who give us positive feedback on the product also make me proud of the innovation.
3. Tell us about your greatest weakness as an entrepreneur.
Most entrepreneurs like myself lack patience and worry too much because we want to succeed and succeed quickly. However, my board has kept me focused and also understanding that the journey is a marathon not a sprint. This has also allowed me to deal with challenges much better because I don’t worry as much because I am more patient now.
4. What popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?
I hear people say just pray over it and it will work out. I believe you have to plan, put in the hard work along with prayer for you to be successful.
5. Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you started?
I would have studied the market properly before launching the product so I could have made some adjustments to my strategy. Entrepreneurs need to really understand the problem they are trying to solve and identify the addressable market for your product or service at the right price point. About 87 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty, so I wish I had launched the sachet pack size, that would address the bottom segment of the economy, much earlier.