Kasope Ladipo-Ajai, founder and owner of a Nigerian food production startup called Omo Alata Foods, has won the She Leads Africa 2015 Entrepreneur Showcase for women entrepreneurs.
The She Leads Africa Entrepreneur Showcase is hosted annually to promote and boost women entrepreneurs on the continent.
Ajai was among six finalists chosen from over 400 applications that came in from 30 African countries to pitch for their chance to win a $10 000 (around R140 000) prize, including cash and direct access to potential investors as well as business support.
The computer science graduate was crowned the winner at the Motherland Mogul Week event held at the She Leads Africa offices in Nigeria from the 20th to 26th September.
Omo Alata Foods focuses on sourcing commonly-used Nigerian fresh produce, and employs best practices for cleaning, processing and packaging it that would benefit consumers’ health.
Second place and a $5 000 cash prize went to Kambili Ngozi Ofili-Okonkwo, owner of women’s swimwear startup Kamokini, while Ngozi Opara, owner of the Heat Free Hair Movement company, took third place and $1 000 cash.
When asked what she would do with her prize money, Ajai said she wants to grow it into a brand that will be a household name and make a difference in society.
Her words to other aspiring entrepreneurs were, “…it’s going to be tough but don’t let that stop you from starting. Join a support group of other entrepreneurs. It helps to speak to people who are going through similar experiences because they understand you in ways others may not. These are the people who will keep you going.”[Source and image – She Leads Africa]