Affiong Williams: Getting Funding Rejection, Expanding Dried Fruit Retailing and Empowering African Women

For any entrepreneur looking to build a formidable foundational in inspiring the next generation of agripreneurs, the challenges ahead would prove too insurmountable upon first glance. The sector is one that relies extant forces from the farmers’ farmlands to the consumers’ table. Other factors worth considering involves funding and government policies.

These strigent measures pervading the Nigerian agriculture sector might leave just anybody weakened to the bones and soul but not the amazon, Affiong Williams – the Africa’s listed 30-Under-30 CEOs entrepreneur revolutionising agriculture via her multi-million money-laced fruit firm, ReelFruit.

The fruity company is repackaging fruit in varied ways to customers nationwide right from the farmland to consumers mouths and houses. She has been abke to effectively and extensively stack her products in more than 300 supermarkets at different state locations. She is breaking the stronghold of the male entrepreneurial stance.

Affiong is a graduate of Physiology and Psychology from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and bagged her post graduate diploma in Business Management at Wits Business School, South Africa also.

Her career started at an NGO- entrepreneurship support organisation that supports SMEs in developing markets – Endeavour South Africa – where she started interacting frequently with entrepreneurs. After four years of working at ESA, Affiong was ready to take the big bold step. She relocated to Nigeria.

After getting a rejection mail from a supposed grant, she turned to hawking dreid fruits she came into the country with and patronage was encouraging, the least. The demand started rising higher than the supply – every entrepreneur’s nightmare. She applied for a short grant tenure and luckily convinced investors to kickstart meeting up with the demands.

Leading an all-women team of meembers, Affiong retails a variety of dried fruits snacks in over 600+ spots of leisure, ranging homes, airlines, schools, exports and hotels via purchasing giants like Amazon. Her company operates on the shoulders of 80+ employees across 3 regional offices in Nigeria and has created employment for 50 rural women trained to grow high-quality, export-grade mangoes in Kaduna.

She awarded at the Village Capital Agriculture Accelerator, Kenya, 2020. In 2022, Affiong Williams was named the first winner of the esteemed Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award. She won at the International Women in Business Competition, Holland; Creative Focus African SMEs Exhibition, Nigeria.