Princess Adeyinka Tekenah is the founder of Happy Coffee, an indigenous Nigerian coffee brand. A pacesetter in the Nigerian coffee industry, Tekenah started her company over six years ago and has since been creating awareness about Nigerian coffee.
Tekenah said she was inspired to start her brand after reading a book on the success story of Starbucks. “After reading a book in college about the Starbucks Story, I got inspired to dream about starting an indigenous Nigerian coffee brand in the future,” she told Lionesses Of Africa.
Then in 2015, there was a call for African entrepreneurs to submit ideas for the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship program. She applied to launch a coffee brand and she got selected to receive the $5,000 seed capital with which she started the business.
“From the beginning, the goal was to ensure Nigerians had access to locally-grown coffee. Nigeria grows coffee, but people were drinking imported products. Our business looks at creating solutions for the challenges holding back Nigeria’s coffee sector,” she told How We Made It In Africa.
She first created a mobile café and mainly sold at events and after a year, established her first pop-up café in 2017. This was after people had started inquiring from her if she had a place where they could come to drink coffee.
“Customers then requested to buy our coffee beans for home consumption. Our business has evolved in this way. From the pop-up café, we started bagging our own house blend which is freshly roasted coffee from Nigerian farmers,” she said.
Today, Tekenah has 10 coffee retail products and three coffee experience centers in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2019, the brand pioneered the first-ever Lagos Coffee Festival in the West African state. In addition, the company educates Nigerians about the art of coffee drinking and provides access to the availability of Nigerian-grown coffee.
Tekenah comes from a family of entrepreneurs. She grew up with parents who operated their own businesses and developed her flare along the way, she said, adding that she learned mostly on the job.
“Our vision is to become the first listed Nigerian Coffee Brand, a brand that is socially and environmentally responsible and most importantly improving the livelihood of all that come into contact with our Brand,” she told Lionesses Of Africa.
Tekenah graduated from Harold Washington University, Chicago. She also has a Business Management degree from the University of Phoenix. She moved back to Nigeria from America over 10 years ago.
“I just graduated from college. Many friends and family wondered why move to Nigeria, when you had an opportunity to make a better life in America. People weren’t accustomed to people moving back to Nigeria,” she said.
“I took that decision with one singular conclusion; I will make a difference.” Tekenah has since done that with her Happy Coffee brand. When she started the brand, she didn’t realize how unstructured things in the Nigerian coffee value chain were, she said.
“Nonetheless, the challenge presented its own solution framework: Build Local. The core of our vision is to provide innovative coffee solutions, while supporting the local farmers and boost the value chain,” said the coffee entrepreneur.