Engineer Ernest Mbanefo :opens a multi million naira natural food outlet ‘Euodia whole foods’ in ogba Lagos



Can we meet you sir?

Am engineer Ernest Mbanefo, I have practiced engineering for over thirty years, and I have moved from engineering to investment in other fields like real estate etc, am also involved in youth empowerment programs as a way of giving back to the society.

what gave you the concept or idear of setting up this line of business?

First is after serving for a long time and still looking very strong, and the secrete is actually to trust God, and beyond that, you have to be careful of what you injest into your body,we have to nurture this body, unfortunately a lot of people take care of there cars more than they do to there bodies, so there is a crisis of health repairman on our society today, where I have seen a lot of young people in there twenties develop heart issues and young women in there early thirties having sign’s of menopause. These are not natural and I believe that apart from life style, diet is the most contributing factor for all these health matters.

So the body is well made by God in such a way that we can leave for a long time without any form of disease and am one of those who can testify that it is possible.
Am deep in my sixties, and many people think am in my fifties,
so essentially, it is the grace of God which is often abused, and if you abuse any gift from God, you will bear the consequences.

So I think one is to trust God , and beyond that, you have to be disciplined and to have the right information to nurture this body and to leave a healthy life, not just to live long, but to live a healthy life and not to be a problem to those around you. so it is to leave healthy

There is a crisis and not many people have recognised that food is the biggest problem, so we have all kinds of food and things been sold in the market, the vendors are eager to make money, you don’t blame them,but the thing is that you now have a choice , you either go to them or else where, but because people are too busy they rely on some of these vendors who are in my view very Carlos , all they are interested is to make money,

So chemicals are not good to our bodies, so a lot of the time we think that we are trying to impress our children by taking them to such places, but ultimately is not good for our bodies.
So we want to create an alternative for those who are more informed, those who understand that they should be careful of what they eat.

Those who understand one of the reasons our parents lived long is because they understood the power of nature, depending on natural food instead of looking out for some of these chemical food we see today in the Market.So this whole ideas is to create an alternative in the market , so that people can have choices.

How do you intend to make Nigerians accept your line of product?

First is that Nigerians are becoming more aware, you will notice that because of the crisis caused by Covid 19, it has made a lot of Nigerians to begin to look for alternatives as a way of dealing with disease.
Because medical treatment does not have all the answers, but of cause medical treatment is very good because when you need surgery, you need to go to them and a lot of solutions come from there.

But there are a lot of alternatives that comes from natural which has been there from the beginning e.g Ginger just to name a few
Our parent only used the natural spices, and those spices are always there, so the number one thing is that the current crises in the world is driving people to look for alternative.

Secondly, we need to provide more information and that is what we are doing through our marketing team.

So the fact is that the market exist, so to be able to get Nigerians to patronize our brand, we need to keep pushing the information into them that there is alternative. Information they say is power, with the help of our marketing team and also with the help of the media,we pass the information that people don’t have to die young because of what they eat.

Looking at your business and the crowed it attracts, how do you intend to manage it?

We are starting with three outlets, this is the first one, but we will be using modern delivery system to also enable us reduce the amount of people that will be coming to our outlet.
One of our strategy is to keep our cost as low as possible, we need to have enough volume so that we can make money,the only way we can make it happen there fore is to use modern logistic system.
We already have contact with delivery people who will come pick and deliver to our customers,

We also have logistic people in the house that are undergoing training for the job.

So by the system we have put in place, we can manage the crowd. We are not afraid of the crowd ,in addition, we have taken time to incubate the business in the past six years, so we have. mastered the business in this period of six years, we didn’t jus start the business, we have trained our people on how to produce, we have set up partnership with people from the north who will deliver the raw materials, so we are good to go.

How can one get your product without coming to your outlet?

By phone call, you can always see our phone numbers on the bottle, just place a call and you will get any of our product delivered to you.

How was your growing up like?

It was quite challenging, my Father had a successful transport business, but the Nigeria civil war took everything away and we had to start all over again. unfortunately, that was when I was ready to go to school, so we had to scratch, struggle.
though we are back on out feet, so you will be seeing a lot of Mbanefo things here and there from now.

But inspite of that, I still had to face the challenges of a very humble child which is to fend for your self, become street wise, fortunately, things where working so there were scholarships , so scholarship got my Father some kind of relief, so he was able to send me to university.So growing up, was a little different from today.
There are more challenges for today younger people than it was in my growing up days.tough but we learnt,we where challenged, so got trained by mostly by a multinational firm, so I understood business investment very well, I know nothing is impossible as long as you believe, I was trained by people who believe any thing and they will make it happen. So they trained me to know how to partner with people to achieve great result

Taking a pip into Nigeria economy,what can you say?

In deed the economy is in bad shape, but the good news is that we still have the resources and the people, very intelligent people we have , natural resources but it will require group of visionary leaders to come together to turn things around.
that day may come, but it will not just happen suddenly, it will take some time, but am hopeful I don’t know how is going to be done , it will require a lot which I won’t want to go into details.
The only hope we have is that our resources and people are still intact.though the system has been bartered and abused for several years, but nothing will change except we have the right leaders and managers with the right vission

How do you intend to sustain the business?

What helps business to succeed is that one you need to a module, two you understand your can flow, to kno how money come in and thirdly you need to maintain clean accounting system. also try and get a reliable partnership , in Nigeria a lot of business owners want to do everything by themselves,.
with all the above mentioned, your business will have direction and you will be able to project the future of your business.
[2/11, 14:36] : remember that profit can only come when you provide quality service.

How do you give back to the society?

We have the opportunity of partnering with medical doctor’s ,we will set part of our profit in training people in medical field on how to treat Cancer and other related disease.

Let’s take a pip into your family sir?

I have one dear wife, our marriage is blessed with five children, one post graduate degree holder but decided to to business, another a logistic specialist, another a physicist based abroad, the only girl in the house is an investment banker while the last boy is an engineer .

What is your favorite colour?

I found out that I like wearing blue most of the time, and some white too

What is your priceless possession?

Apart from time, people are and not just people but quality people, for this reason I have young people I mentor, for no man is an island I have people of younger generation and people that are older than I am, so with God and people around me , I get what so ever I want fast

What is your favorite meal?

I eat twice a day, and I eat cooked food once a day, for breakfast, I enjoy pap with tiger but milk that is sweetened and letter in the evening I take swallow in very little quantity and then small salad.

How do you unwind sir?

My best moments are moment when I pray, when I read books because I love reading not just reading any book, I love reading books on biographies, philosophy and business books too, for this reason I mentor younger ones to inculcate the habit of reading.

Interview by Godwin Onyemaechi and Samuel Fadipe

Categories: Headlines Interviews

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