Today we share the story of a young lady who diverted her dreams of becoming an accountant to a food processor after she gave birth to her daughter…She is a Mother and an entrepreneur.
Erasung Hadijah, the CEO of Isshad Plus Enterprise, producers of Myda Foods- a local cereal made with rice, soya and moringa was born on March 5, 1990.
She had her basic education at St. Andrews Catholic School. She then continued to Wa Senior High School and went on to the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
Hadijah, from her childhood had a passion for selling. So even in primary school, she used to sell mangoes, toffees to her friends in class. But along the line, as she grew up , Hadijah developed an interest in becoming an accountant so she took a course in accounting at UPSA where she graduated with a degree in Financial Accounting in 2014.
Before her degree, she had taken a two year course in Diploma in Business. Just after completing her diploma she got married.
According to Khadijah she wanted to remain focused in life and she felt getting married will help her overcome so many pressures. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl after marriage and that was when her entrepreneurial journey began.
The arrival of her baby turned her into an entrepreneur !
My journey into entrepreneurship is quite an interesting one, Hadijah explained. After breast-feeding her baby for about 3 months she observed something unusual about her baby. She realized her daughter was constantly reducing in weight. Her baby would not eat anything. As she explained , ” I tried some of the common baby formulas available in the market but I wasn’t seeing any positive results.”
Naturally this situation will cause every new mother to worry , even the experienced ones. That is when Hadijah decided to try her hands on something new for her baby.
” I decided to try my own baby formula. So I researched on the ingredients I had in mind to make sure it will be healthy for my baby to eat’ , she stated.
Then she tried out a mix of brown rice, carrots and sometimes added some eggs. After giving her the formula for sometime I saw some improvement in her weight. Then I was motivated to continue the formula till she was a year. I was really impressed with the way my daughters weight had become stable now. “She had become “obolo”, Hadijah stated.
Hadijah then saw a business opportunity in there. She reasoned that if this helped her child, then there could be other mothers out there facing the same problem. She decided to take this on as a business. She launched her first product in 2014 at the UPSA Auditorium. There were three brands namely
Morin Cart which is a mixture of rice , carrot and a little bit of moringa. The other product, B-Soya is also made with brown rice, soya bean and a bit of spices. The last product which is the super mix is a mixture of brown rice, soya, carrot and moringa.
HOW SHE MARKETS HER PRODUCTS
The uniqueness of Hadijahs product mix makes people wonder for the first time if it tastes good. In view of this she has adopted a strategy to answer all who have such reservations about her products.
“When I go for exhibitions, I prepare a sample of the products and take it along. I pour some out for prospective customers n cups for them to taste. After they sample, they realize how nutritious and tasty it is and the orders start flowing in.,”she explained.
Hadijah’s business is located at Madina, a suburb of Accra . Her distribution channels are mostly around that community and its environs.
Due to the health benefits of the ingredients, a health facility known as Herbal Technology takes some and recommends it to its diabetic and stroke patients.
Her cereals can also be found in some SHELL shops.
She also gives a lot of free samples to people to test .Even though the initial cost of that is high, she argues that it reaps benefits as people make orders after trying the products.
But she mentions also that no business goes without challenges, especially start ups…
The most common challenge which affects all start-ups is usually the battle with capital . Hadijah had to rely on her mother to lend her some money to start her business when she convinced her she would take it up.
But after her mother’s support sustaining the business financially has not been easy for her.
Hadijah also wanted her products to look very unique in the market, so she also put in a strategy to help her achieve that. She invested heavily in branding and used an attractive and quality package for her products.
I took time to visit the market to survey the packaging of some of our local formulas, and I also sampled products from the foreign markets and then decided to follow the foreign packaging. That appeared very attractive and neat. Her products have gone through several re-branding to arrive at its current look.
Another challenge she faced also was getting the right kind of cereal for her products. It was difficult making out the good ones from the bad ones.
Dealing with cereal was the biggest challenge I had to overcome. I didn’t know much about it, so it was difficult selecting the best ones. I always relied on Food research to help me and gradually I have been able to surmount that.
HOW EDUCATION HAS HELPED HER IN HER ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY
Many start- up businesses consider going through regulatory requirements as an obstacle which is there to impede progress due to some of the challenges that was faced previously. However Hadijah appreciates following regulatory requirements as an advantage for her business.
I have come to understand that some of these guidelines and regulations are there for our benefit if we follow them. It shouldn’t be always just producing to sell.
This also helps you gain a competitive advantage in the market, especially in the industry I found myself, It was very essential to go through all the various regulatory processes before I introduced my product to the market.
She believes what is driving her product is quality in terms of content and packaging. To be sure whether she is using the best of ingredients for her products too, she reads about the health benefits of the ingredients and knows which one to select.
Hadijah wants Myda Foods to be a registered brand in every household and also export to the international market.
” I want my product to be in every household in some few years to come. I also want to enter the international market that is the more reason why I re-branded my products.”she mentioned.
HOW THE GOVERNMENT CAN SUPPORT ENTREPRENEURS
Hadijah believes a lot of young people have very brilliant ideas which have not materialized yet because of lack of capital. She is urging government to step up efforts in providing easily accessible capital to individuals who are interested in entrepreneurship.
She also advises that while regulatory procedures are important for businesses to meet, it would be helpful if those processes are made easy for businesses to follow.
To make more enquiries on Myda Foods contact Hadijah on 0544503479
Email them on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org