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Interview With Sanne Steemers, A Dutch Chocolate Entrepreneur Connecting Europe And Africa

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Thirty Six Foods is a Lagos-based social enterprise inspired by the diversity in the people and environment in all the thirty six states of Nigeria and believes nothing is better than chocolate. In this interview,  Alaba Ayinuola spoke with Sanne Steemers a value chain consultant and a chocolate entrepreneur at Thirty Six Foods, to know more about the brand, her entrepreneurial journey and her interest in the chocolate business in Nigeria and Africa. Excerpts.

 

 

Alaba: Tell us a bit about yourself and your brand, Thirty Six Foods Nigeria Ltd?

Sanne: My name is Sanne Steemers. I have been working to connect Europe and Africa for most of my career. About five years ago, I settled in Nigeria. Even though I was reluctant to come to Lagos at first because of its reputation, I fell in love with the energy of people. Nigeria brought out my inner entrepreneur, and in addition to my value chain consulting work I decided to start manufacturing chocolate.

Thirty Six Foods operate as a social enterprise, which is a phenomenon that is not well-known in Nigeria. While we want to be profitable as a business, we also want to make sure that we create jobs, pay our staff a fair salary, and improve the lives of cocoa farmers. Nigeria has a bad reputation, and we would like to change that by making a high-quality product.

 

Alaba: What’s the inspiration behind your chocolate business and why Africa as a choice for your business?

Sanne: Over the past five years, I have worked in several agribusiness projects, and two years ago I started Thirty Six Foods Nigeria together with my business partner Chip Odina. We are both driven by the need to diversify the economy and create employment in Nigeria. Africa has great resources and potential, and I love to work here.

I also love chocolate. I was working as a consultant in cocoa trade when I arrived in Nigeria, and brought chocolate from abroad every time I travelled. At some point, I started experimenting with making chocolate in my kitchen. When friends and family started to ask for chocolate, I knew we had a good product.

 

Alaba: What’s your experience working in different African countries?

Sanne: The first African country I lived in was Burkina Faso in 2005. Since then, I have worked across Africa. I like how varied the continent is. I chose to settle in Nigeria because it suits me. Nigerians are very honest and direct, people here are ready to work as long as it has a mutual benefit. I still travel a lot for my consulting work. Last week, I returned to Burkina Faso and it was wonderful to see how the country is still friendly and charming as it was almost fifteen years ago.

 

Alaba: What are the challenges, competition and how are you overcoming them?

Sanne: There are always challenges. The most difficult ones are those that are not in our control: roads, electricity, and climate. While I learned to make chocolate in Europe, we had to redesign our chocolate making processes entirely to be able to deal with the specific context in Nigeria. But challenges come with being an entrepreneur. We learn from them, and we find creative solution.

 

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

 

Alaba: How is your chocolate unique and different from other chocolate brands in Africa?

Sanne: We focus on both quality and sustainable impact. We are one of the few chocolate makers actively investing in cocoa communities to increase both quality and income. We operate as a social enterprise and offer employment opportunities to people who might not otherwise have had a job. Training is very important to us.

 

Alaba: How can governments support businesses especially in the agricultural value chain?

Sanne: Businesses mainly need the government to ensure good roads, constant supply of electricity, and smooth processing of permits and taxes.

 

Alaba: What’s your view on the chocolate business and its future in Nigeria and Africa?

Sanne: Africa is uniquely positioned in the cocoa and chocolate market. The continent produces the majority of the world’s cocoa and represents a large market. Adding value to cocoa through chocolate manufacturing is a logical next step.

 

Alaba: What’s the future for your business and what steps are you taking towards achieving them?

Sanne: We are growing the business slowly but steadily, we never want to compromise on quality. We have a range of products that we are very proud of, and we have started to work with companies and individuals on custom orders. In addition to the Nigerian market, we have received our first export order which will be shipped next year.

 

Alaba: What’s your advice for prospecting entrepreneurs and investors considering the African market?

Sanne: Become an expert in your field while also being flexible to adjust to reality. You may need to change your processes or the way you sell. And take it one step at a time.

 

Alaba: What’s your favourite local dish and holiday spot in Africa?

Sanne: I love Nigerian food; it’s hard to choose just one dish! My top Nigerian dishes are suya, amala with vegetable soup, and pounded yam with white soup. I get them from my favourite spots in Surulere.

Regarding the holiday spot: I spend most of my holidays in Amsterdam to see my family and friends in The Netherlands. In Nigeria, I love Tarkwa Bay for a quick break. Other favourite African destinations include South Africa and Egypt.

 

Her Short Bio:

Sanne Steemers is a social entrepreneur and senior consultant who makes social impact economically viable. She is the founder of Thirty Six Foods Nigeria and senior partner in the Agri-Logic consulting network. She is passionate about value chain partnerships, impact investment, making Nigerian chocolate and creating jobs. Lagos & Amsterdam are home.

 

Visit: Thirty Six Foods

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Fawry Announces Its Intention To Raise EGP 800 million and Explore U.S. Listing

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Fawry for Banking and Payment Technology Services S.A.E. (the “Company”, FWRY.CA on the Egyptian Exchange) announced today its plans to raise EGP 800 million of growth capital through a rights issue to existing shareholders. The proceeds will be used to fund a new chapter of expansions in financial services for both consumers and merchants. In addition to growing the Company’s offerings on MyFawry, the offering will help position the Company on the forefront of the Super App opportunity in Egypt.

Moreover, Fawry will continue to invest in strengthening its position on merchant acquiring as well as supply chain solutions. A portion of the proceeds will also be directed towards executing the Company’s investment strategy. Fast tracking innovation and supporting the budding ecosystem of high growth startups and fintech that complement Fawry’s offering. Through e-commerce, logistics, fintech services, insuretech among other verticals.

The Company’s board of directors, including the directors representing the main shareholders of the Company (whether representing institutional investors or financial institutions), have approved the proposal. To increase the capital to finance the company’s growth plans in the event that the necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals are obtained.

The Company’s board of directors also approved the creation of an American Depositary Shares (“ADS”) program. And is exploring a listing in the United States in connection with a potential SEC-registered secondary offering. The timing, number of ADSs and price of the proposed offering have not yet been determined. The proposed offering is subject to market conditions, shareholder and regulatory approvals. And there can be no assurance as to whether, or when, the offering may be completed or as to the actual size or terms of the offering.

These materials are not an offer for sale of any securities in the United States. The securities may not be sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Any public offering of securities will be made by means of a prospectus that may be obtained from the Company. And that will contain detailed information about the Company and management, as well as financial statements.

 

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GoDaddy Partners with Fawry to Help Entrepreneurs Build Their Online Presence

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GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY), the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, has partnered with Fawry, the local leading online payment company. To facilitate the process of going online for startups and entrepreneurs in Egypt.

In partnership with Fawry, GoDaddy will provide startups and entrepreneurs with unique services and tools. Including GoDaddy E-store, to successfully build their digital presence, aiming at helping them attract customer attention and conversions to grow their businesses.

“We are excited to partner with Fawry to empower small business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs in Egypt by facilitating the process of shifting online,” said Selina Bieber, General Manager for MENA, GoDaddy. “Along with our affordable integrated suite of online services and easy-to-use tools, young entrepreneurs and business owners now have secure and easy e-payment methods that can help promote their journey towards utilizing digital solutions for their future growth,” Bieber added.

Heba El Awady, Senior Director for Banking and Strategic Sectors, Fawry, said: “Together with GoDaddy, Fawry aims to provide an easy and convenient payment experience for Egyptian startups and entrepreneurs to successfully build their online presence”. “FawryPay offers various payment methods including card payment, mobile wallets, Installment, reference code payments via Fawry channels (“myFawry” app, 250K Fawry point of sale terminals, FawryPlus, banking channels as well as cash payment through Fawry outlets).”  El Awady added.

With over 20 years of experience supporting entrepreneurs, GoDaddy is keen to reach more Egyptian youth and business owners. By providing them with the necessary toolkit to name their idea, expand their digital footprint, and help them take their businesses online and grow.

Additionally, GoDaddy supports digitization needs by sharing information about the benefits of being online. Which, in turn, can help to serve Egypt’s digital transformation strategy and contribute to the state’s economy in the light of Egypt’s Vision 2030.

It is important to note that GoDaddy launched its Arabic Website Builder to allow local Arabic-speaking customers in the MENA region. To reach their audience in their mother tongue, creating a user-friendly interface, and providing a personalized user experience. Thus, grow their business, attract new clients, and retain the already existing customer base.

 

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3attar secures seed investment from AUC Angels, UI Investment and Angel Investors

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3attar a health-focused tech and e-commerce platform secures seed investment from AUC Angels, UI Investment and individual Angel Investors. Established in 2019, 3attar is a B2C online platform that provides value to its customers through: Online healthy food/products ordering, Delivery services, Diet-consultation programs and Live-coaching programs. Additional subscription and e-payment models.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the company was quick to expand its ‘selection from a few hundred products to +3,000. Rendering it the biggest healthy-shopping destination in Egypt. Its unique name/logo combination expanded to grow into its own private label that generates 20% of the entire business revenue model.

Mohamed Ali, founder/CEO of 3attar said “We aim to become the dominant one-stop shop for the whole health community in Egypt. And expand into MENA regions; including chronic diseases and obesity by providing a holistic healthy lifestyle app.” 

The company’s vision is to support the health community that is comprised of At-risk individuals who lack the resources, awareness, products necessary to alleviate their conditions and improve their health (customers suffering from Obesity, Diabetes, Allergies, Hypertension and more). Healthy individuals as well as Athletes, Dieters and Fitness professional. Who maintain and lead a healthy food intake and are constantly seeking a platform that holistically offers all their lifestyle needs.

Eng. Tarek Roushdy, investor and board advisory member of 3attar said: “Since the huge growth in the global “health” community is reaching the MENA region rapidly. 3attar made a smart move to be the first and only platform to serve not only the health community in Egypt and MENA. But also those who want to joint this movement. I am glad to be part of this journey helping them to bring such value to that big market ..” 

Mariam Kamel, of AUC Angels said: “The specialized e-commerce space has witnessed increased inflow of angel investments and venture capital this past year. 3attar not only satisfies this, but also strives for impact in addressing the growing trends towards healthier living.” 

The investment raised will be utilized to expand the customer-base through marketing acquisition and diversification. Further developing the tech-stack to achieve higher order volume and revenues.

 

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