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locust beans (Iru in Yoruba)Omo-Oniru Limited is a growing business started by 17-year-old Oluwatosin Lawrence, 16-year-old Oluwatoyin Lawrence and seven-year-old Oluwatamilore Lawrence on October 2018. The business got registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria in December 2018. The siblings are into the production of locust beans (Iru in Yoruba). They said: “Our vision is to be the biggest locust beans brand, both in wholesale and retail worldwide. Our mission is to create food products that will satisfy customer needs, and which can be delivered locally and internationally by leveraging on technology. It is part of our aim of giving back to society through structured Corporate Social Responsible initiatives.” Explaining how it all started, the young entrepreneurs said: “As young minds, there was this desire to run a sustainable business, and with that burning passion, we came together and decided to start Omo-Oniru Limited – a locust beans packaging company, which has proven to be one of the best decisions we have taken as siblings. “Our main motivations were seeing other young entrepreneurs make impacts in their immediate environment from products developed by them and also from people willing to buy our products – a value-adding business idea! Like all other businesses, Omo-Oniru Ltd. has had to grapple with some challenges. “Our major challenge so far has been the unavailability of shared production infrastructure services or a hub,” they said. “Production infrastructure is capital-intensive for a start-up company like ours, due to the need for a huge capital base to procure dryer equipment and other factors of production.Lawrence siblings “With a shared service production facility in place, we can pay for the production operation per time and sustain the business on the go-basis. Additionally, the distribution channel is challenging, due to the high cost of transportation. This impacts on market penetration rate and pricing of the product. Were they discouraged by anyone from pursuing their dream? They answered in the affirmative. “Along the line, some young people made fun of us, which was a bit demotivating,” they recollected. “But we were able to overcome by being optimistic, focusing on the main goal.” Who are their role models? Our role models are our parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ayodeji and Oluwafemi Lawrence. They have shown us the true meaning of hard work, integrity, grit, and resilience. In addition, they have taught us to trust God for direction, putting Him first in everything we do, not being distracted, and focusing on the important things per time. They are always there to guide us in decision-making processes and providing the needed encouragement to take on daunting steps. “We took it upon ourselves to device ways of making Omo Oniru, the 100 percent natural, no preservatives, sand-less, stone-free, highly nutritious locust beans condiment available for public consumption. The products come in easy to open and seal up, reusable pouches in moist and dry variants.” On how they have been able to source clients, they said: “Our very first customers were families (uncles and aunties), friends of our parents and parents of our friends. They were ready to encourage and support us when we started. “We reach our customers through the use of social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, text messages, WhatsApp messages, phone calls, and one-on-one interaction. We also get new customers through people discovering our products in the homes of our existing customers. “And to reach a wider range of customers, we have decided to engage in wholesales to supermarkets. This way we know there will be more opportunities to expand the business. “Since the establishment of Omo-Oniru Limited, we are glad to say we have made a considerable amount in sales, which is an indication that it is a profitable endeavour. What is their advice to other kids with visions? “We would like to advise aspiring entrepreneurs to challenge themselves, take risks, be open-minded, ready to fill gaps in the society, engage in what they love and enjoy, have a vision for it, set goals, formulate plan(s) that show how the goals will be achieved, surround themselves with good people that will motivate them towards their goals and last but not the least, believe in themselves, that is, all the talents God has deposited in them, because if they don’t, nobody else will.