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I didn’t expect to be in the limelight this early – Emenike, serial student entrepreneur

Currently based in Aba, Abia State, Maureen Emenike continues to make a significant impact through her businesses, empowering others to make healthier choices, pursue entrepreneurial endeavours, and maintain clean and hygienic environments. With her passion for writing, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to excellence, Maureen is undoubtedly a rising star in her community and beyond. She shares her story with Folaranmi AJAYI. Excerpts
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Maureen Emenike is a talented 21-year-old writer and entrepreneur hailing from Uzuakoli, Bende local government areas (LGA) in Abia State. As the second child out of five siblings, Maureen possesses a strong drive and determination to succeed in both her academic and professional pursuits. Currently, she is in her fourth year as a Public Administration student at Abia State University, Uturu. Alongside her studies, Maureen budding serial entrepreneur and has two successful businesses under her belt. Her first venture, ME Foods, has been operating for nearly two years and focuses on providing snack enthusiasts with healthier alternatives. Through ME Foods, Maureen caters to individuals seeking nutritious snack options, supplies snacks for home and events, and even assists aspiring entrepreneurs in starting their own snack-based businesses. Her range of products includes peanuts, kuli kuli (a West African snack made from peanuts), chin chin (a popular Nigerian snack), cashew nuts, honey, and recently, she introduced a new product called garfait. Additionally, Maureen addresses the importance of breakfast by offering healthy cereals and beverages, ensuring that families don’t miss out on the most important meal of the day.

In her second business, ME Essentials, Maureen endeavors to make cleaning more affordable and accessible to the public. Through the sale of various cleaning products such as liquid soap, bleach, toilet cleaner, izal (a popular disinfectant in Nigeria), Dettol, and more, she helps individuals clean their spaces effectively without breaking the bank. Not only is Maureen an budding entrepreneur, but she has also made her mark in the literary world. She has published two e-books on the Selar platform, further showcasing her versatility and expertise. Her books, titled “Goats In Business” and “Five Sales Mistakes You’re Making,” provide valuable insights and guidance to readers in the realms of entrepreneurship and sales.

Can you introduce yourself to Edugist audience?

I’m Maureen Emenike, a 21 year old writer and entrepreneur. I am the second child out of five children. I’m from uzuakoli, Bende LGA in Abia State. I am a 400l Public Administration student in Abia State University, Uturu. I run two businesses; ME Foods (which I’ve run for close to two years) and ME Essentials (which is just three months old). At ME Foods, I help snack lovers snack healthy, entertain their guests at home/events and start a business with my snacks(Peanut, Kuli Kuli, chin chin, Cashew Nuts and honey). I also help families not miss breakfast with healthy cereals and beverages.I recently added garfait to my products. At ME Essentials, I help people clean more for less with cleaning products such as liquid soap, bleach, toilet cleaner, and disinfectants . I’ve also published two e-books on Selar. One is titled “Goats In Business” and the other is titled Five sales mistakes you’re making”. I am based in Aba, Abia State.

Can you tell Edugist, how you came up with the idea for garri parfait?

It was supposed to be a gift for my friend, Duke, who we know as the president of garri drinkers association. It was a gift to thank him for all he has been doing for the garri drinkers association. He made a post about it on Facebook and people started requesting it.

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What was your initial reaction to the positive response from the President of the Garri Association and other students who tried your dish?

I was actually surprised that people would buy this. I think they loved the fact that it was classy and can be taken anywhere.

How did the demand for garri parfait grow and how did you begin selling it to other students?

When Duke made the post, someone placed an order for three cups two days later. That’s the three cups in the picture that went viral. So far, orders have been coming.

What ingredients do you use to make garri parfait and how do you decide on the different flavour combinations?

It’s a perfect combination of garri, milk, sugar and toppings. We have different toppings such as groundnut, Kuli Kuli, coconut chips, peanut and cashew nuts.

What challenges have you faced in creating and selling garri parfait, and how have you overcome them?

The initial challenge was about the fullness of the cup. We have reduced the garri to allow for the garri to rise properly in the cup. Another challenge is inability to sift the garri before drinking which we’re currently working on.

How has the response to garri parfait been on social media and in other areas outside of the university?

The response has been positive. A lot of people have reached out to support me and I’m grateful for that.

Do you plan on continuing to create new and innovative dishes in the future, and if so, what can we expect to see from you next?

Maybe. Maybe not.

What advice do you have for other students or aspiring entrepreneurs who want to follow in your footsteps and turn a simple idea into a successful business venture?

My advice to them is to give it their best shot and not listen to the naysayers. A lot of people will try to bring you down with their bitterness, don’t let them. Be focused, do your feasibility and be sure you’re not wasting your time.

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How has your experience with garri parfait impacted your personal and professional goals, and what lessons have you learned along the way?

I didn’t expect to be in the limelight this early. I was looking forward to it but it just came suddenly. Asides the fact that I now work with the consciousness of the new audience I gained especially on Facebook, nothing has really changed. I’m still focused on growing my business and developing my personal brand.

What do you hope to achieve in the future, both in terms of your academic and professional aspirations, as well as your culinary endeavours?

I hope to serve my father’s land this year, then go for my second degree. I’m currently taking courses to improve my business because right now, my business is my focus.

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Are you open to collaboration with anyone?

Yes. I am open to relevant collaborations.

Read also: Abia State University students invent sweet garri-based dish

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