Nigerian international students team up to launch online shop for rare African ingredients


    When Stephen Ayeni and Nafiu Mohammed first met in a math class on the College of Toronto in 2015, that they had loads to discuss.

    As international students from Nigeria, the 2 immediately hit it off. They talked about life in Canada and began learning for calculus exams and assignments collectively.

    Nevertheless it did not take lengthy earlier than the inevitable got here up: how a lot they missed the meals again residence in Nigeria.

    “One of many first issues I observed was how a lot I missed my mother’s cooking,” Ayeni remembered of his first days in Canada.

    The 20-year-old wasn’t a lot of a prepare dinner when he left Nigeria. However at his first Canadian residence in Port Dover, he confronted an excellent greater problem when he tried to whip up a few of his mother’s outdated classics.

    “After I was attempting to replicate Nigerian meals, I found out that it was actually troublesome to get these precise ingredients,” he stated on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, recounting his outdated four-hour spherical journey drive to an African grocer. “I spotted that was an issue for the African group in Canada.”

    To assist clear up that drawback for different homesick Africans, the 2 buddies teamed up to launch Afrocart final 12 months.

    Retailer affords rare African ingredients

    The online market carries round 200 African merchandise together with spices, snacks and soups. The choice consists of hard-to-find ingredients like floor crayfish, African curry powders and a Cameroonian sizzling pepper mix.

    When the shop launched in late October 2017, Afrocart racked up $300 in gross sales inside its first week.

    “I used to be shocked,” stated Mohammed, 21. “To me, it actually reveals the true demand that is actually on the market.”

    Mohammed and Ayeni purchase the merchandise in bulk from an African grocery retailer in Toronto, then promote to prospects who cannot simply entry related brick-and-mortar companies.

    Kilishi, a sort of spicy beef jerky native to Nigeria’s Hausa ethnic group, has been the shop’s hottest vendor to this point.

    “Each time we get this product, in three or 4 days, it is gone,” Ayeni stated with amusing. “My buddies are texting me saying, ‘Hey when are you getting it again? We’d like it!.'”

    International orders

    Afrocart has shipped orders throughout Canada and the U.S., and so far as France and the U.Ok.

    The 2 friends-turned-business companions additionally make native deliveries themselves.

    “Once we ship the merchandise we get that feeling that we’re really serving to the purchasers out,” stated Mohammed.

    “We’re on that path of truly influencing all people’s life in a constructive manner,” he added. “And I assume it is simply by means of meals or grocery buying.”



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