How Affiong Williams brought Reelfruit to limelight
Affiong Williams, 31, is the founder of Reelfruit, a fruit processing company set up in February, 2012. Affiong also sells snack packs of dried fruit and nuts.
She is an entrepreneur with a difference, having been listed on Forbes ‘African 30 Under 30’ two years ago as one of next set of billionaires to be produced by the continent in next to no time.
‘African 30 Under 30’ are the future billionaires who will redefine business in Africa, while creating jobs and wealth for the majority of the continent’s population.
Before founding ReelFruit, Affiong had worked in Endeavor in South Africa, where she rose to become portfolio manager. She left in 2012 and returned to Nigeria to start the company.
Before setting up ReelFruit, Affiong had participated in a two-month internship program at the Resolve Group, where she was involved in a management restructuring project for Transnet Freight Rail. She equally worked on an internal client survey.
Affiong used to research about high-potential entrepreneurs at Endeavor by analysing business model, market opportunity, management, capacity, scalability and innovation of the business to determine fit.
She leveraged Endeavor’s network of investors, entrepreneurs, academics and journalists (VentureCorps) to assist entrepreneurs.
This, perhaps, could have been her key motivator.
She studied Physiology and Psychology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in business management from the same university.
Her initial start-up capital was huge: $100,000. Today, she employs over 30 people directly and many more in the value chain, which includes a range of dried fruit snacks and nuts such as mango, pineapple, cashew, banana and coconut.
“ReelFruit’s vision is to be Nigeria’s largest end-to-end horticulture company. ReelFruit’s range of dried fruit snacks and nuts are sold in over 250 locations in Nigeria, as well as airlines, hotels and schools. In 2016, the company sold 500, 000 packs of snacks,” she says on her LinkedIn page.
“I manage a team of 30 employees at the headquarters and have a team of 45 women growing high quality, export grade mangoes in Kaduna,” she adds.
Her products are dried in Ogun State and sold to many parts of the country.
The company has started exporting its products to West and Central Africa, with plans to expand to Europe and the United States in the future.
It was reported in 2015 that she was working on finding a $600,000 investment to build a bigger plant.
ReelFruit has won various awards, including International Women In Business Competition in the Netherlands, and an SME exhibition (Creative Focus Africa) in Lagos, Nigeria.
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