Story of a student entrepreneur: In memory of Kika Onyibe
Kika Onyibe is an 18 year old second year law student at the University of Birmingham. She is a professional chef, writer, spoken word artiste, leader in her campus fellowship, founder of a youth fellowship in Nigeria and the co-founder of a non-profit youth organisation called the Coalition for Youth Development. She is passionate about evangelism and social entrepreneurship.
Tell us a bit about your non-profit, Coalition for Youth Development?
Our goal is to rebrand the mindset of the Nigerian youth, hence the name ‘Youth Development’. We aim for an overall change in lives of the Nigerian youths, ranging from having the right perspective of the country, being rightfully patriotic, enlightenment in regards of the social, economic, political and current affairs of the nation and an explorative mindset of the entrepreneurial aspect of the country. All needful developments in the lives of our youths considering that they are the leaders of tomorrow.
It is not enough to be patriotic on twitter, we need to be more aware and educated of what is going on in our community. We are also trying to boost social entrepreneurship as this will change how people carry out their business.
Last summer we had an event to celebrate history and educate people about the history of Nigeria. The event was called ‘Roots’ and it was a fun way of engaging people in the culture and history of Nigeria. We had a live band, folk tales, and performances from young artists, quizzes, spoken word, talks and a showcase. People left feeling quite curious about their history.
At the moment, we are focused on engaging people on social media as well as organising events like the one we did last summer in order to increase participation.
We have a lot of programs and projects we intend to organise, so we can reach out to more youths.
Where are your audience based?
Our target audience includes Nigerians all over the world. Although we work more closely with Nigerians in Nigeria, our conversations on social media can encourage the Nigerians in the diaspora to have a sense of social responsibility towards their country.
Have you experienced any difficulty in the management of the organisation considering you are all students and most of the founders are not in Nigeria?
It’s fairly easy to manage since all the things we do are online, though the first time we were all together was in summer. The other co-founder and a number of our members are based in Nigeria, so they take care of things on ground. Also, we have different departments and we communicate online through group chats etc.
What other things are you interested in?
I’m interested in Influencing women’s outlook towards life and themselves which would in turn have a positive effect on their character and confidence. I also plan to have a restaurant which would fund a soup kitchen for poor in Nigeria. I’ve got a couple of ideas just trying to spread them out and take on one thing at a time.
You are also the owner of a catering business, How long have you been doing this for?
I am the founder of Kika’s kitchen which is a catering business based in Birmingham. I started in January 2016, making puff-puff, chin-chin, pastries and shawarma and I sowed a seed for my business. I was still very unsure as to the direction I wanted the business to go and I had no clarity or existing business plan. For a few months, I was doing a joint cooking business with another caterer that did not turn out so profitable for me. I later got clarity from God about needing to be on my own, so I branched out as my own separate business in April 2016.
It’s a lot of work but it’s been great so far and the feedback has been really encouraging.
On our menu, we have a wide variety of Nigerian dishes and the customers can make special requests. For events the menu includes a choice of rice dishes, chicken/beef/turkey/ribs, pastries, small chops and wraps (shawarma).
Why did you decide to be a professional caterer?
I find a lot of joy in cooking, especially for other people. I dream of one day opening a successful restaurant of my own, so this is sort of a stepping stone. I had a plan before I came to university to cater for students on a small scale. God had other plans, so I started doing it on a larger scale for events.
What has been the highlight of your business so far?
It’s funny because the story did not have much to do with my business but it left a significant impact. Like I mentioned before, I got really discouraged when the business was not going as well for me as I had planned. Even when I wanted to branch out on my own I had no motivation. Then God sent me help and encouragement at just the right time in the form of a birthday gift. My friend got me a wooden ladle with my name and the verse, Isaiah 58:10, carved out on it. That simple gift made me feel so appreciated and assured me that the effort and dedication I put in was not in vain. The verse blessed me so much and encouraged me to keep cooking. God showed me exactly where the vision for my kitchen was written down in the Bible. He assured me of His presence with me. It’s been great since then.
How has your faith in God influenced your business?
Faith not only influences, but is the foundation of my business. There were days I got really discouraged and I felt like I could no longer do it, but I remembered that Christ in me can. Abba has told me He’s got me! Isaiah 58:10 is the scripture I most identify with my kitchen because the whole purpose of me having a successful restaurant is to be able to fund a kitchen for the less privileged.
Why should a customer choose Kika’s Kitchen instead of another catering business?
Because they will be sure to receive great customer service and delicious food in generous portions. Also, a percentage of the profit of Kika’s kitchen is donated to feeding schemes and soup kitchens.
What future plans do you have for your business?
On the 3rd of January, Kika’s kitchen and a couple of volunteers will be carrying out an outreach to the homeless in Birmingham and serving them with hot meals and hot drinks and also witnessing the gospel of Christ.
I’m also looking forward to broadening my clientele and catering for more events next year. In the long term I see myself with a successful catering business (possibly a restaurant) by God’s grace.
Tell us a bit about the artistic part of you. What kind of writing do you do?
I write spoken word and poetry which are usually inspired by the Holy Spirit and from personal experience.
What advice would you give to other writers?
Be true to your story and never stop learning, don’t compare yourself to others and look for ways to improve your craft.
Who are the most influential people in your life?
My Dad – I have learnt a lot from him, and he is really intelligent.
Martin Luther King has also greatly influenced me to also have a dream and pursue it. His activism and passion was very inspiring and he was also a Christian.
My country, Nigeria. The people and the heroes of history motivate me to strive for a better future.
You currently have a lot of responsibility, how do you balance your workload?
Prioritising is very important. It’s something I’m still learning to do but time allocation and proper planning are very key to how effective you will be.
On a final note, what advice would you give to someone who would like to start their own business?
Make sure you pray about it and commit it to God’s hand. You won’t have to go far to look for business, it will come right to you as long as you are putting in your best. It’ also important to have a business plan down so you can make calculated plans toward the improvement of your business.
I had this interview with Kika in September 2016. Sadly, Kika passed away on the 12th of April 2017. Before she passed away, she agreed to share the above amongst other things we discussed on that day. I didn’t share this before now because she wanted to include pictures from a professional photoshoot in the post.
Kika was one of our biggest fans and her passion for evangelism led us to start planning for a new project which will kick off this summer. The project will include providing support to campus fellowship leaders as well as encouraging evangelism on campus.
If you would like to be a part of this project or other aspects of Lively Stones, please contact us on social media or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to pray that God’s peace will fill Kika’s friends and family. May the soul of our beloved friend and sister Kika Onyibe rest in peace.