Interview with Affiong Williams- breaking the myths surrounding food processing in Nigeria!
- It is nice to meet you Affiong Williams. Can we learn more about you please
My name is Affiong Williams, 28 Years old entrepreneur, building a fruit processing company in Nigeria, and eventually other countries in Africa. I studied a general Bsc degree in Physiology and Psychology, and followed up with a diploma in business management. I worked for an SME catalyst organization for 4 years, where I learned the most about entrepreneurship. I am quite motivated and ambitious. I am passionate, curious, introverted and a bit of a nerd. I hope to hold political office in the future, and I also hope to live in different countries in Africa.
- Many people are scared of starting any business that is heavily reliant on power/electricity such as yours. Can you advise on this?
Electricity is a cost that should be factored into the cost of production as any other cost. There is no need to fear it, but it should be planned for.
- There is the perception that almost everything needed in food processing is imported e.g packaging, preservatives e.t.c. Many are not aware of the importation process. Can you advise on this?
As I mentioned before, research into any industry is vital. If possible, I would advise the aspiring entrepreneur to volunteer for a while in the particular industry he/she is interested in before venturing into the business. The amount of learning would be priceless.
- Are you open to mentor some ladies that are just starting agriculture related businesses?
Yes, I am always open to sharing my experience and answering questions.
- Can they reach out to you via this medium?
Yes, or one can email me, info @ reelfruit. com
- Another myth for most start ups is lack of capital, how did you overcome this? What tips can you give? Can you advise on source of capital options available in nigeria especially for women?
Finance is always going to be an issue, as I doubt any entrepreneur always has all the money he/she needs at a particular time. I think money follows good businesses and good ideas. One should always start with what they have, show progress, and people will be attracted. No one will appreciate the excuse that money has stopped you from starting at all. Resourcefulness is a trait every entrepreneur must have
- There is the perception that no one can do business in Nigeria successfully without being on the ground everytime! What is your opinion on this?
I have very strong views about working on one business versus trying to do too many things at a time. In Nigeria, we often see people who are “into many things.” They have 3 or 4 different businesses in different industries. I believe in focus. I want to build a massive fruit agribusiness and that will likely not happen if all my attention is not focused on it
- A key factor that affects businesses is government policies. What is your perspective and experience on this?
I do think we have issues with policies that result in over taxation, and over regulation of industries. Government policies that promote entrepreneurship should create enabling environments for small business to thrive, not restrict them.
- Lastly, we’ve not seen a lot of Nigerian businesses NOT living more than 1 generation. What are the plans to ensure your business outlives several generations?
By ensuring that we formalize and entrench corporate governance that ensure that key business decisions are not reliant on me alone. For instance, we ensure to have audited financial statements, to report management accounts to our board of advisers, to have an accounting system run by a dedicated staff. I see this business growing beyond me and It would be a huge marker of success for the business to last beyond my involvement with it
- How can consumers get your products?
They are sold in many supermarkets across Lagos, Abuja, PH and Asaba. We are stocked in over 85 stores nationally. You can find a full list of stores at www.reelfruit.com