At She Leads Africa 2015, Omo Alata reigns supreme
For Kashope Ladipo-Ajai, a former IT Service Engineer, Project Coordinator and Business Process Analyst for functional roles with Virgin Nigeria. The need to make cooking an easy, fun-filled affair informed the founding of Omo Alata Foods. And her pitch proved to be a hit with the judges at the She Leads Africa 2015 Pitch, a business idea pitching competition designed to showcase the best of budding female African business minds.
“From my early days of working at Virgin Nigeria, I always tried to find smarter ways to solve a problem. I never believed in laborious, conformist methods,” she said while pitching her business to the judges at the event held at Oriental Hotels, Victoria Island.
The judges included the founder of Ebony Life TV, Mo Abudu, managing director of the Yinka Folawiyo Group, Tunde Folawiyo, Issam Darwish, former minister for Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, Nigeria country manager for the International Finance Corp., Eme Essien and Genevieve Sangudi.
During the pitch that included five other contestants, Kashope explained that her company OmoAlata produces Nigeria’s first NAFDAC approved 100% organic packaged blended pepper mix.
While she acknowledged erratic power supply in the country as a challenge her business faced, she, however, believed that she would soon evolve a technology that would ensure that her pepper mix, which comes in hot and mild varieties, have longer shelf life.
Other winners at the SLA 2015 Pitch were Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo of Kamokini, who came second with her business idea for an Afrocentric swimwear line and Ngozi Opara of the Heat Free Hair Movement which produces natural curl hair extensions, who came third.
Imoteda Aladekemo of Heels in the Kitchen, Ugandan Brenda Katwesigye who pitched a mobile and app-based emergency health service called Instahealth and Louisa Kinoshi of BeautyRevNG all also gave a good account of themselves.
Ladipo-Ajai walked away $10,000 in cash prize from GTBank, the lead sponsor of the pitch, mentorship, technology prizes from Etisalat and 3-months of support from Zippy Logistics while Ofili-Okonkwo and Opara won $5000 from First Securities Discount House Limited and $1000 from Zippy Logistics respectively.
In a chat with the Guardian at the event, co-founder of She Leads Africa, Afua Osei, said SLA was committed to supporting young women’s dream of becoming well-rounded entrepreneurs. With over 20, 000 followers on her social media and a growing online presence, she believed the organisation is poised to achieve its aims.
Founded by Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei in 2014, She Leads Africa aims to serve as a platform to invest in Africa’s most talented and promising female entrepreneurs.