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Bunmi Arinbola

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Oluwabunmi is a passionate, vibrant and dynamic young woman who grew up with the intent to become a Barrister at Law but ended up in a hospitality/semi-processed food outfit and knew for certain she had found her place.

Her enthusiasm for cooking or feeding people started with a passion for bringing people together and ensuring those events ran seamlessly. For her, the experience of both the host and guests is vital.

Over the years, she has acquired both personal and professional experience ensuring that anyone who comes in contact with her gets their belly filled with delicacies.

In addition to this, she runs a Human Resources Consulting and Events Management Outfit ‘BE! Planners’ based Lagos.

Company Name And Problem Solved
My name is Bunmi Arinbola. I run a semi-foods processing outfit called Elewa. *Elewa* began with the semi processing of beans into puree for easy preparation of moimoi , akara, gbegiri etc.

The company recently branched out into making daily meals made with beans. The vision of Elewa is to have people consume more beans and to encourage the inclusion of more proteins in their meals.

What has been some of your failures and what have you learned from them?
While starting a business, there are no hard and fast rules. You learn as you move on, we don’t see errors as failures but learning curves. Each time we make a mistake, it is an opportunity to see things from a different perspective and strive to be better than the last.

How far are you willing to go to succeed?
Success is in my DNA. I am only willing to go as far as explaining the vision of the brand Elewa to the people around me, hoping they latch onto it.

What is your greatest challenge and how do you manage it?
The Nigerian Economy isn’t favourable to start-ups. There is always one factor or another to wade through from registration with regulatory bodies, to constant power supply to even product acceptance (especially if like Elewa, you are the first to break into the market). However, to successfully manage this you must posses a high level of resilience. Be ready to spring back no matter what tries to hold you down.

Where did your organisation’s funding/ capital come from?
At the start of the business, funding came from personal savings and constantly ploughing profits back to expand the business. However, we are at the point where we are open to investors and strategic partners to help us take Elewa to the next levels.

How do you build a successful customer base?
By being in control of the Customer Service initially, building trust among the clients and ensure to deliver to them according to agreed terms. This builds their loyalty in the brand and they help us make referrals. The business grows from there.

Is there a formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
This is not a one-size-fits-all project. You have to look for what is in accordance/resonance with your business model in addition to the uniqueness of your personality and run with it. Five key elements for running a successful business

Find a human need and meet it. Start with what you have and make your way to perfection. Seek help, from the right sources. Remain humble. Trust the process.

Where do you see the business in 10-20 years?
We are opening up distribution channels of the products globally. Our goods would be in all retails and FMCGs shelves, both in Nigeria and the world over. We would have established an international standard Elewa Culinary Academy where meals made with beans (both local and foreign would be taught to willing students). Our Elewa Catering Outfit would be running, where meals made with beans will be catered at events. Also, our product variants would have expanded, with the inclusion of flexible packages tailored to consumer needs.


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