Thirty-five-year-old entrepreneur, Rose Akoh, recently launched her local spice brand, Chide’s Spice (powdered Okpehe – Prosopis Africana). The product has been widely accepted and has gone beyond the shores of Nigeria thereby promoting Made-in-Nigeria products.
The Sociology and Business Administration graduate from the University of Abuja is our female entrepreneur of the week.
Inspiration behind my Okpehe brand
Okpehe naturally has a very strong smell because of its fermentation process. But this is hugely contained with my kind of packaging. Until you open the pouch or bottle, you may never perceive anything. I simply provided an easy way of using the spice, and a more comfortable way of carrying it around.
Also, this is an attempt to promote an age-long important food condiment, hence the slang “Okpehe to the world”.
Acceptance so far
It has been overwhelming; I’m yet to meet anybody who has any complaint about the product. All the reviews I’ve gotten have been fantastic. Anybody who sees it starts saying, “Why didn’t I think of this? It’s so good.” Everyone has something positive to say about it. Even those who don’t know about it are asking what Okpehe is, and I get to explain to them; and how organic it is. It has been accepted really well and it’s translating in the demands we’ve been getting.
Target in five years
I honestly see it employing so many people, and I’m really excited about that because a whole lot of people don’t believe in entrepreneurship. There are challenges, yes, but nothing comes easy. I have encouraged a lot of people already. So, I want to expand almost immediately because with the demand we have so far, there’s no way one person can handle it. Getting distributors across all the states is my first and immediate step. Somebody has already gone to the US with some, and people in the UK are already demanding it as well, and we are definitely going to be exporting almost immediately.
For now, all of the processing is being done manually, and it takes a longer time to dry properly. We are in the process of acquiring machines to make things easier, better and faster.
Another major challenge I’m certain most budding entrepreneurs face is the lack of physical cash, as one would likely be investing in ideas, equipment and anything that would make the business grow better.
Facts about Okpehe
This age-long condiment can be used to cook any food, and it is used just like any other seasoning out there. It gives food a very rich taste. One very unique thing about Okpehe is that it hardly goes bad, it can be used over a long period and it would still be as potent as the day it was produced.