How Two Brothers Opened A Chain of Coffee Shop Across Africa & How It’s Helping African Start Ups Flourish

 

Nigeria is the seventh largest coffee
producing country in the world, and two brothers
there have decided to capitalize on this.
After working abroad and soaking up café
culture, Ngozi and Chijioke Dozie opened Café
Neo in 2012 in Lagos, and now have 10 locations
in Nigeria with plans to rapidly expand over the
next few years across Africa.
The duo have tapped into a $98 billion global
industry, that has many fans in Nigeria but little
choice of coffee shops, say the brothers. It took
them four years to raise $400,000 and get their
business off the ground.
A space for entrepreneurs to
flourish
What’s unique about Café Neo? The brothers
wanted their shop to be about more than just
drinking coffee, they wanted to create a space
for entrepreneurs and creatives to flourish.
They do this by offering free Wi-Fi, jazz music
that plays in the background and spaces for
collaborative work.
“Café Neo is inspiring a lot of entrepreneurship
and entrepreneurs in Nigeria, and hopefully, in
other parts of Africa.” says Ngozi.
“We host hackathons, we host competitions. As
we grow, there are more opportunities for people
to come, work, collaborate, and the more
opportunities for others to actually plug into
Neo.”
The brothers are helping entrepreneurs across
Africa who may not have a reliable power supply
at home.
“For most start ups, there isn’t really any space
for you,” says Ngozi. “If you try and work from
home, there’s probably is no power, if you try to
go to the hotel, it’s not conducive.”
Next stop, London?
The brothers admit Nigeria is an emerging
market that presents great opportunities for
young entrepreneurs.
“I can’t think of a better place for an
entrepreneur right now than in Nigeria,” explains
Ngozi.
“There’s definitely a coffee renaissance taking
place in Africa, and we think that we are at the
forefront.”
The pair make the most of social media and
blogging to attract global attention; their
#PersonalitiesAtNeo series highlights different
characters you find in coffee shops across the
world, and their blog draws potential customers
in with posts such as Beginners guide on when
to drink coffee .
When the time is right, the brothers have global
plans on their wish list.
“One of our goals, is to have in London, in Soho,
a Café Neo store, and you have Nigerian roasted
coffee, you have Tanzanian roasted coffee, you
have Rwandan roasted coffee,” says Chijioke.
“The word ‘neo’ means ‘gift’ in Tswana, and also
‘new’ in Latin,” explains Ngozi.
The brothers admit they’ve beat well-known
chains such as Starbucks to the Nigerian
market, and they’re hopeful that through their
chain they’ll have “the best African coffees
produced by Africans, drunk in Africa”, and
possibly beyond Africa.

 

CNN

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