Meet Kasope Ladipo-Ajai: The Entrepreneur repackaging locally produced Nigerian food

Meet Kasope Ladipo-Ajai: The Entrepreneur repackaging locally produced Nigerian food

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai ventured into entrepreneurship because she had the urge to do something more meaningful than the traditional 9-to-5 job. In 2012, she started OmoAlata, a Nigerian food service and packaging company focused on producing hygienically processed and packaged local Nigerian soups, spices, and peppers. A computer science graduate from Babcock University, Kasope loves cooking,

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai ventured into entrepreneurship because she had the urge to do something more meaningful than the traditional 9-to-5 job. In 2012, she started OmoAlata, a Nigerian food service and packaging company focused on producing hygienically processed and packaged local Nigerian soups, spices, and peppers.

A computer science graduate from Babcock University, Kasope loves cooking, travelling, and old architecture. In her past life, she worked as a team lead in Air Nigeria where her responsibilities included information technology (IT) related service, business analysis and project management. She also worked with Taytom Group where she handled core IT project implementation.

When we met her, she had a lot to share about her experiences so far…

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai, founder OmoAlata

Kasope Ladipo-Ajai, founder OmoAlata

At what point did you decide it was time to start your own company, and what was the first thing you did when you decided?

I had always planned to start my company. I told my first job interviewers that I would probably be working for myself in 5 years. I got the job and resigned 4 years later to become an entrepreneur. When I decided to take the big leap, I registered the business name to make my decision concrete.

When you started out, did you get any resistance from family and friends?

Yes I did. Many people thought I should not quit my job until my business was up and running efficiently. I stayed resolute to my decision even when it seemed it was best to go back to paid employment. Those days are still not over but are further in between now. I keep telling myself that in ten years, I would look back and laugh at my hustle escapades.

Was there any point when you felt like giving up on your business?

Many times. Any entrepreneur who says otherwise is not being truthful. If one sets out with realistic expectations and enough passion, one will weather those times. It also helps to socialize with fellow entrepreneurs to stay motivated and know your situation is not peculiar

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Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you just started your company?

There is light at the end of the LONG tunnel. Slowly but surely is the key.

What does success mean to you, both in business and personally?

In business, it means OmoAlata products being used in most households.The success of my business is my pride and joy. Our dream is not only to sell products but to affect people’s lives through this business; employees, mentees, less privileged etc. We have a number of offshoot programs planned as we grow.This would give me personal fulfillment and success.

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If you win the She Leads Africa competition, what’s the first thing you’d do? How would the prize money impact your business?

There is an expansion plan already drawn up. The prize money will go into purchasing machinery to increase capacity.

If you could give one piece of advice/encouragement to a large group of aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?

Entrepreneurship is not for the lily-liver person. Business plans act as guides and are not cast in stone. Be ready to adapt to suit your environment.

 

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  • […] Ladipo Ajai is the co-founder of OmoAlata (which means a child that sells pepper), a Nigerian brand that processes and packages local Nigerian spices and peppers. Surprisingly, the “omoalata” title usually used by Yoruba speaking people to insult, downgrade and belittle young girls who are illiterates or without proper home training is what Ladipo-Ajai is using to succeed as an entrepreneur. Guess it’s safe to say, she has been able to reform and redeem the title. […]

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