What is the first step you take when you want to launch a new business idea? Tell a mentor? Save up some capital? Find an investor?
For Affiong Williams, founder and CEO of ReelFruit, it was leaving her comfortable job in South Africa to start a (almost unheard of) dried fruits company in Nigeria, hawking prototype products around Lagos, and somewhat building the entire business model on the hope of winning a UN grant that never happened.
Was that such a good approach? Well, on the one hand, her tech-enabled agribusiness recently raised a $3m Series A round to help accelerate global expansion. That’s plenty validation. But then, it took her five years to build her first factory, and nine years in total to the Series A.
But how did someone who had dreams of becoming a medical doctor end up as an entrepreneur? And what would motivate them to leave their comfort zone, in a bid to singlehandedly pioneer a sub-industry that never existed?
These and many more I sought to find out during a recent interview with Affiong Williams at the ReelFruit HQ in Lagos, Nigeria.
In this inspiring interview, Affiong Williams shares her motivations, inspirations, ambitions, entrepreneurial lessons, and tips on how to achieve a work-life balance while running a global company.