Difficult circumstances often birth extra-ordinary feats. Blessing Murphy, the CEO of Date Sweetener never knew the event of her mother’s sickness would in return birth something meaningful.
Date Sweetener was founded when Blessing’s diabetic mum needed a healthier alternative to sugar. She explained, “Date Sweetener came as a result of finding an alternative for my mum who is diabetic. Leaving in northern Nigeria at that time, I was inquisitive enough to see what I could come up with. I really wanted to give my mum and other special-diet people a healthier nutrient-filled alternative to sugar”. Imported processed dates at the time, were quite expensive, this led Blessing to begin to process dates locally.
From her production hub in Lagos, Nigeria, Blessing presently produces Date Sweetener in powder and syrup form as well as Date and Peanut Butter. She started the business with personal savings and overtime, re-invested profit back into the business till date. Blessing who objects to obtaining bank loans says she is open to private investment.
Date Sweetener nourishes the body with nutrient-filled vitamins and minerals without preservatives and can be used to as a natural sweetener in various consumables such as: cakes, drinks, cereals etc.
According to Blessing, Date Sweetener has been consistent with offline and online promotion. It is available in a number of retail outlets in Lagos and has a huge followership on social media platforms. She believes Date Sweetener will soon take over the Nigerian space considering people’s growing desire for healthy alternatives.
Giving her view about the growing rate of innovative packaged food and how policies affects SMEs in Nigeria. She said, “The Nigerian packaged food market is in the spotlight now, because lots of entrepreneurs are discovering numerous food derivatives from homegrown crops. They realized gaps that needs to be filled with homegrown products, but the challenges faced is mostly finance and unfavorable economic policies”.
Narrating her current challenges in the business, she said, “Machinery is on top of the list because Date Processing isn’t like the regular flour production type of business, it requires a special type of machine”. She added, “Power also constitutes a challenge then funding comes last, I need funds to expand in my community before going international”.