Meet Ayeni-Wuraola Ogungbola as she takes us on her entrepreneurial journey.
My name is Ayeni-Wuraola Ogungbola, the founder and CEO of a food business known as Iyl foods and confectionery limited. I am a graduate of biochemistry from Bowen University and a mum of two adorable boys. I love to cook, travel, meet new people, eat, talk and sell.
Iyl foods is majorly a food processing and packaging business. There’s a section of the food business popularly known as (Iyawolaideolowosibi) which caters to food services such as delivering freshly made foods to individuals at their doorsteps. While Iyl foods processes and packages dry foods such as dry spices and local rice.
I started my food business with a customer’s fund of N4000 and gradually progressed from just cooking for people to processing and packaging dry foods. I had to get a job to support the growing business and also kept reinvesting all revenue generated from sales into the business. Joggling business, family life, and a 9-5 especially in a financial institution was no easy job. Regardless, I have been able to rise above all the negativities and get my brand to where it is today. Today, we have a processing facility in Ibadan, where all our products are being processed, packaged and distributed. We currently have 4 staff myself inclusive and our products are all registered with NAFDAC.
I got our products registered with NAFDAC by first making enquires about what I needed to do to get these products certified, then I went back home heartbroken lol as I had zero financial ability to do the required. I knew that doing this will skyrocket my brand so I got to work, secured a factory space, hired the required people and did all the necessary things to be done. By doing all these I realized the importance of shared labor and delegating, things got a lot easier and seamless. Getting this approval was not an easy task but we overcame it.
Challenges are inevitable in business especially food business. Some of the challenges we face are
- Lack of funds: I kept re-investing the funds generated from the business. Got a 9-5 job to support the growth of the business, I also received a grant of N100,000 in my second year of business. (so that people don’t just think that it is that N4000 that has put the business where it is today, even though it has helped shaped the foundation of this business in many ways.
- Lack of information: This is a huge problem in Nigeria at the moment. I learned the hard way in many ways but now I know better to research and ask questions.
- Lack of access to raw materials: For startups, this might be an issue as it was for me. But now I have been able to research more, and been able to source for farmers in my field of business, this has helped me a great deal.
- Wrong partnerships: I had partnered with people who made away with my money and goods, I have had an encounter with people who wanted to help but in the actual sense of it, they wanted a stake in the business or buy it out completely. However, I have learned from my many failed businesses that not everyone who offers help actually means well. So I have learned to be extra careful to be able to get to where Iyl is now.
My upbringing has a lot to do with my business ideas. I was exposed to farming and business from a very young age. We cultivated all we ate at home i.e. cassava, palm oil, vegetables, locust, beans, yam, nuts, fruits, cotton wool, sugarcane, calabash, spices, peppers, herbs just name it. I learned the many uses of herbs and spices from my maternal grandmother and home keeping from my paternal grandmother. So growing up for me was fun, educative and very inspirational.
I see IYL many times bigger than what it is today, I see it as a globally recognized brand.
Zeal, hunger, determination, and persistence are my driving force. I am hungry for growth and success. Whenever I think of quitting, I remember how I started (Zeal), why I started (Hunger), why I want it to thrive (determination) and what I need to do to achieve what I want (Persistence). These are my driving forces when it comes to business and family. I also learned from my parents, my mum had always been a career woman. I watched her push through all the ups and downs and had to still take care of us all. My dad is also very hardworking. He is the most hardworking man I have ever known, I admire his hunger for success.
I strongly advise that food entrepreneurs get their food products registered with NAFDAC. It will not only give their products an edge in the market it would also open many opportunities for them to thrive.
Follow us on Instagram: @iylfoods & @thechefgold and on Facebook: Ayeni-Wuraola Ogungbola