In this era of mass unemployment, several other legitimate business avenues have been largely unexplored. It is unfortunate that the Nigerian educational system largely produces job seekers rather than job creators. However, some individuals with creative ideas have been able to start lucrative jobs that require minimal start-off capital for themselves to survive the harsh economic realities we have found ourselves. Such is the case of Faith Afebuamhe who is the proprietor of Blendies Cakes and Snacks. She has been in the catering business for five years.
How was the beginning?
According to her, “I started this business from my mother’s kitchen in 2014 with a loan of N5,000:00 and had a training program for just one week, which could be longer depending on one’s level of assimilation. Production at that time was basically on snacks which were on a very low scale. I made my supplies to schools around my home using white transparent buckets, but as the business grew, I had to relocate to where demand for my products will be readily available.”
Equipment and ingredients required
“As a result of an increase in demand, I had to inject more funds of about N80.000.00 from my mother into the business to purchase other catering equipment, gas oven, measuring scale, rolling pills, chopping board, cutters for meat-pie, deep freezer and transparent glass and to display my products.
Other ingredients for baking such as flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and oils were also purchased. At that time too, I had to add other items like cakes and biscuits. Right now, we have further added such menu like salad, Moin-Moin, and boiled yam with a fried egg, fried plantain, fried turkey, gizzard and beef. There is also an opportunity for special orders for tea and coffee, golden morn and corn flakes, oats, custard and pap and noodles. It is a very lucrative business. I am happy doing what I am into and I wonder if I could do something else better than this”.
Demand for products
“Biscuits and cakes and snacks are widely consumed by children and adults alike and are most commonly used as gifts during celebrations such as birthdays, child naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies and so on. The market demand is further strengthened by the daily emergence of new schools, hotels, motels, which consume a large number of baked products”.
“Like in every other business, some of the challenges we face are fluctuation s in prices of raw materials, meeting expectations of clients, cost of securing good accommodation which is fairly high, and the issue of inconsistent power supply. This is a very critical one because we need to purchase our raw materials in large quantity to reduce cost. But when there is no power to run our freezers, what do we do? We just need to buy the much we need at a higher cost which tells on our profit margin. There is little we can do with power generating sets which are also run at a very high cost. We just wish our government could tackle the energy problem and every other economic problem will fizzle out”.
Opportunity for new entrants
“For new entrants into the business, he or she must be able to communicate well, must persevere and endure long-suffering and must have little knowledge of cooking. He/ she must also undergo a training program which could for three to one year”.
“With as little as N10, 000.00 to N20, 000.00 one could start off on a low scale and expand as demands increase. It is a profitable venture depending on one’s ability to manage the business. However, there are instances of losses even though this is not on a regular basis. It is a business I would encourage others to go into especially now that we have so many idle hands walking around the streets doing nothing. It will also reduce the level of social vices in the society. The start-up capital is quite minimal depending on one’s projection, goals and objectives and it is a business anyone could set up easily.