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The Entrepreneurs of Scheller: Olushola Oladejo’s Startup Promotes Food Sustainability in Africa 

Olushola Oladejo, a Georgia Tech Full-time MBA student, is the founder of Foodpreneurs Hub. She uses her background as a food scientist to coach students on the food processing business so they can grow their enterprises and enhance food security in Africa.

 Olushola Oladejo throwing brussel sprouts in the air

Olushola Oladejo is on cloud nine.  

The Georgia Tech Scheller MBA student and Nigerian native is riding the success of the Food Innovation Summit, an event her startup Foodpreneurs Hub hosted in January. She smiles, recounting the excitement around the bustling breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and inspiring panels discussing food sustainability in Africa.  

“We had researchers, leaders, entrepreneurs, and food professionals collaborating on actionable ways to create change,” she said. “It was exciting, and I can’t wait to host the summit again next year.”  

The Food Innovation Summit comes on the heels of Olushola relaunching Foodpreneurs Hub in CREATE-X Startup Launch, a 12-week summer program providing Georgia Tech students with funding, mentorship, and pro bono legal services. The program was a life-changing experience for Olushola.   

“We talked about our business ideas, provided feedback to each other, and the coaches helped us strategize,” she said. “The whole program exposed me to a supportive network, and I felt the impact immediately for my business.”  

Creating Her Business Blueprint

From the time Olushola was in primary school, she dreamed of being her own boss. She grew up listening to civil servants complaining about their jobs, and she didn’t want to follow in her footsteps.   

“They talked about the unfair treatment and low wages they received,” she said. “I wanted to control my life and income and have a profession where I could develop things based on my environment and solve problems. You can say my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in at that time.”  

Inspired by the eye-catching Coca-Cola, PepsiCo., and Nestle billboards, Olushola knew she wanted to study food processing in college because she was curious about how these companies created these popular beverages. Her friends joked that she would study “cooking,” but she ignored them and followed her heart.  

Taking her parent's advice to stay focused on her education, Olushola earned three degrees in 10 years: a bachelor’s degree in food science and nutrition followed by two master’s — one in food security and sustainability and the other in food science and technology. Though the courses were challenging, she loved every lecture, assignment, and project. She knew her persistence would pay off.  

The late-night studying proved to be fruitful for Olushola. After graduation, she worked at two of Nigeria’s largest food manufacturers — Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, followed by Leventis Food.  

Olushola says she was fortunate to land two jobs because it’s rare for Nigerian students to find employment after receiving their degrees. Simultaneously, she noticed post-harvest food loss was abundant in her country and saw parallels to create opportunity.  

“More than 40% of food waste in Africa occurs post-harvest due to minimal food processing and storage skills, which threatens food security,” she said. “I noticed a problem and wanted to help solve it and empower students to create their path. I knew there were a lot of ideas about food processing that I could share with them to help them keep busy while looking for a job.”  

Olushola began blogging about how to make different food products, one of which was plantain chips since the savory fruit is abundant in Nigeria and the process is easy for people to learn. Olushola’s blog struck a chord with people and her inbox overflowed with them asking questions about the next steps.

Realizing blogging only provided the information, not the comprehension of food processing, she strategized on how to grow her business. She expanded her skills and became a coach for students, producing online courses to meet the demand. She launched the courses, and Foodpreneurs Hub was born. She started with a bakery business, poundo yam flour production, and a sesame oil extraction business.  

Olushola taught students how to make white bread, whole wheat bread, meat pie, sausage rolls, doughnuts, puff-puff, and cupcakes in the bakery course; how to use white yams and preservatives to make the classic Nigerian Dish in the poundo yam flour production; and the sesame oil extraction course focused on the best sesame seeds required for oil extraction. She was slowly creating her dream business and loved every minute — even if it came with sacrificing her time. 

“It’s exciting and fulfilling working with entrepreneurs because they are committed and dedicated to the journey just like I am,” she said.  

Olushola Oladejo Olushola Oladejo
Olushola Oladejo Olushola Oladejo

From Blogs to Business School

When Olushola started thinking about pursuing her MBA degree to gain exposure to international business, the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business was the only school that piqued her interest. The College checked everything off her list: flexibility, diverse concentrations, and proximity to Tech Square. It was an easy decision for her to become a Yellow Jacket.  

But what's been the most surprising to her has been the community she has found here, the friends she calls mentors, and the opportunity to grow Foodpreneurs hub.  

“I had to pause working on Foodpreneurs Hub in the first year of the MBA program because I needed to focus on my studies,” she said. “I missed it dearly, but the pause created a wonderful outcome.”  

While working as a graduate research assistant (GRA) for the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact (ILSI) at Scheller, Olushola met fellow MBA student Sarah Naumann, who became a pseudo-mentor to her. Naumann was in the early stages of launching her business, In Good Company, and encouraged Olushola to apply to the Female Founders Program, a Georgia Tech incubator providing women entrepreneurs with coaching, funding, and space to learn lean startup methods and models.   

The program was invaluable for Olushola as she began rebuilding Foodpreneurs Hub. She learned about customer discovery and networked with like-minded women who shared her passion and excitement for innovation and entrepreneurship.  

When she was referred to CREATE-X, her network expanded and so did her access to funding. Olushola was overjoyed when she secured $500,000 from FUSEN, which helped with marketing resources, website creation, and brand awareness for Foodpreneurs Hub.  

“It’s exciting and fulfilling working with entrepreneurs because they are committed and dedicated to the journey just like I am.”   

Olushola Oladejo smiling and standing in front of the Scheller College of Business.

Having It All

Now that the summit is over, Olushola is ushering Foodpreneurs Hub into its next phase: A 16-week online certificate program targeted to people who want to study food processing. Instead of creating videos, Olushola and her team of experts mentor and coach students in real-time, helping them refine their ideas, register their businesses, discover their customers, learn product development, and more.   

Without realizing it, Olushola has created her own version of CREATE-X with Foodpreneurs Hub. “It's fulfilling having someone trust you with their desire to create a food processing business, and at the end of the program, you've helped them succeed,” she said. “When I hear testimonials from people who enjoy their experience, it motivates me to do more.   

Throughout her life, Olushola found inspiration from her environment. Now, she inspires her sons.  

“I tell them I wanted to have a business when I was their age, and I have that now,” she said. “I say, ‘You may not have everything figured out at the beginning, but always start from where you are and what you have. There are different parts to your destination."   

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