How this Nigerian-American is shaking up the doughnut industry

Edose Ohen quit his job as an IT manager to open a doughnut shop. It set him on the path to starting his own internet company. The article below tells his story, it first appeared in Forbes Africa and is republished with its permission. Subscribe today by contacting Shanna Jacobsen [email protected]

Edose Ohen had an unconventional childhood. By elementary school, he was given a programming book by his father and told to study it, sparking an interest in information technology (IT) and robotics. Entrepreneurship was also in his blood. By the age of 12, Ohen was selling sweets to his classmates to make extra money. By the time Ohen got to college, he started a marketing company to promote events at the school, which progressed to organising high-end events for his fraternity.

“My father has always been an entrepreneurial man and I believe the lessons he taught me earlier on in my life was my foundations for my entrepreneurial paths. He shifted me towards IT at a very young age, so I always knew I would be in IT. I also always knew I was going to be in oil and gas because I idolized my father and he was an oil and gas man,” says Ohen.

After graduating at the University of Houston with a degree in management and information systems, Ohen’s prediction came true. His first job combined his IT skills with his passion for the oil and gas industry.

READ: Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola on the day he lost everything …

“I graduated in 2009, which was the height of the economic recession in the States, so I sent out my resumes to hundreds of companies and I did not receive any feedback. Finally, there was a mid-to-large-sized international oil and gas company, and it just so happened that the hiring manager went to my university and we had some synergies. So I started working as a system administrator and four years later I worked my way up to an IT manager.”

Ohen began to feel like he had reached a glass ceiling. It was time to do something different.

“In 2013, I started my MBA, concentrating on supply chain and operation management. When I was doing my MBA I was watching a show on CNBC called ‘How I Made My Millions’ and it was one of my favourite shows. There was a segment about these guys who opened a gourmet doughnut shop. I was like why would you open a gourmet doughnut shop?”

“I watched them and I was like these guys had a plan. So I said let me go to the top 10 doughnut shops out there and every single one of them had a line outside the door. I looked around and I couldn’t find anybody that did it in my area, so I said why not?” says Ohen.

Ohen got some close family and friends together and raised $300,000 to start his new dream, Glazed The Doughnut Cafe.

“It took about two years to get it off the ground. We had about 2,000 people come to the grand opening and the first six months was a total disaster. We could not keep up with demand and we could not create enough products.”

“I had this perfect staffing plan and perfect projection and it was absolutely terrible. It stabilised after year one and we just recently opened our second location which is also growing,” says Ohen.

The biggest challenge for Ohen was managing his own expectations.

“I was so adamant about my business plan. I had all this predictive analysis saying we anticipate we are going to need flour because we plan on selling so many doughnuts a day and trying to force that to happen. But the thing is, you don’t know, you can’t tell. Somebody can wake up and say I want a doughnut today or not, so just trying to understand that there is a complete difference between what you think can happen and what actually happens was difficult.”

With his doughnut business set up, Ohen was ready for his next move.

“One thing I learned from my father was that he always preached diversification. Mitigation from the effects of the economic cycle was how he survived for so many years and thrived in business,” says Ohen.

That sparked the move into IT infrastructure and services. Ohen set up Alfa Dando, which is the parent company to his internet business. The first brand under that portfolio is Wireless NG.

“We have a company called Wireless NG that we are looking to roll out in Abuja and Benin City. It is focused on information technology solutions, network engineering, procurement, design, wireless communication, and radios,” he says.

For the past three years, Wireless NG has provided communication platforms for the Nigerian Gas Pipeline and Transportation Company and Ohen hopes to create a nationwide network soon.

Ohen is building a diversified empire and, unlike his doughnuts, there doesn’t seem to be any holes in his plan.

Related Content

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina named #AABLA2019 African of the year

In a glittering occasion last night a string of the continent’s most powerful and accomplished leaders were honoured at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards. Cover star for the Forbes Africa December/January Issue and President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina spoke to Forbes Africa after being awarded African of the Year at the All African Business Awards 2019.

Merck for Mothers: How to tackle maternal mortality in Nigeria

Lead of Merck for Mothers, Mary-Ann Etiebet, says Nigeria is nowhere near where it needs to be in terms of meeting its health care goals. On the side-lines of the Future of Health in Nigeria Summit held by Forbes Africa and Phillips Health, CNBC Africa's Christy Cole spoke to Mary-Ann.

‘An inspiration that stood the test of time’: A reflection on Dr. Thandi Ndlovu’s life

‘Feisty And Fearless Pioneers’ – that was the Forbes Africa August cover with Nonkululeko Gobodo and that now late Dr. Thandi Ndlovu. Tributes continue to stream in following the car accident that led to the passing of a former medical doctor, member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (ANC's military wing), former President of the Black Business Council, & Founder of Motheo Construction, Thandi Ndlovu. To reflect on the life and work of Dr. Thandi Ndlovu, Managing Partner of Brighton Wealth SubSaharan, Kunyalala Maphisa joins CNBC Africa for more.

Tributes flow in following the passing of Dr. Thandi Ndlovu

Today the business community is mourning medical doctor and former soldier who became one of South Africa’s best known entrepreneurs. She was also on Forbes Africa's August cover. Dr Thandi Ndlovu died in a car accident at the weekend that claimed four lives. Many called her Doctor T. She was a hard working person with a warm heart and grew up in the turmoil of the struggle. In 1976 her brother Hastings Ndlovu was killed in the Soweto uprising. That year she left South Africa to join Umkhonto we Sizwe the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). She was also a member of the executive of the ANC Women’s Section in Lusaka, Zambia. To pay tribute, Rali Mampeule, CEO of South African Housing and Infrastructure Fund joins CNBC Africa for more.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Cannon Asset Managers CEO on how to position your portfolio for a depression

In 2006, little known economics professor Nouriel Roubini warned that the US housing market was at risk of collapsing. Fast forward two years and it did, triggering the global financial crisis. Roubini, now known is Dr Doom is forecasting another economic depression, contradicting the consensus view the recovery from Covid-19 will be V-shaped. Dr Adrian Saville, CEO of Cannon Asset Managers joins CNBC Africa for more.

How Covid-19 is driving demand for internet services

With students working from home, companies across industries forced to move online and video conferencing services being more utilized now than ever; broadband, WiFi and mobile data capacity seems to be getting tested like never before. So can internet service providers stand up to the test? Robert Nkeramugaba, Senior Network Operations Manager, BSC joins CNBC Africa for more.

Uganda moves to phased reopening amid rising of COVID-19 cases

In Uganda, according to president Yoweri Museveni, the country will go ahead with its plan to re-open the country despite recording more than 150 Covid-19 cases in three days. Moreover, European Union gives Uganda about $198 million to fund coronavirus response. CNBC Africa spoke to Qatahar Raymond Mujuni, a journalist for more.

Nigerian Equities Wrap: Market momentum wanes

The consumer goods index of the Nigerian Stock Exchange was among the top-performing indices in May. Onyeka Ijeoma, Analyst at Vetiva joins CNBC Africa to discuss what to expect from the equities market this week....

Partner Content

Sanlam Emerging Markets and its partners on the African continent invest over $12 million to fight COVID-19

As we go through this global pandemic together, it is the little things we miss. A high five, a handshake, a walk...

VIVO CEO is a dynamic leader for this innovative global brand

May 2020 -- Six months ago the vision for vivo in South Africa was just beginning to...

Trending Now

When a barrel of oil was cheaper than your coffee | CNBC International

Demand for oil has fallen to unprecedented levels, resulting in oil prices turning negative for the first time in history. From the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia to the pandemic, CNBC’s Nessa Anwar explores what this might mean for the commodity in the long-term. ----- Subscribe to us on YouTube: http://cnb.cx/2wuoARM Subscribe to CNBC International TV on YouTube: https://cnb.cx/2NGytpz Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cnbcinternational Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cnbcinternational/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CNBCi...

COVID-19: Reopening aviation in South Africa

South Africa’s aviation sector partially reopened from Covid-19 lock-down’s this week, with the resumption of domestic business travel being allowed to take off. To understand what steps have been taken to maximise passenger safety at the country’s airports we speak with Refentse Shinners, Group Executive of Corporate affairs at the Airports Company of South Africa.

What It’s Like To Be A Professional Amazon Reviewer

Sean Cannell makes tens of thousands of dollars a month as a professional Amazon reviewer. As part of the Amazon Affiliate program, Cannell reviews camera gear on his Think Media YouTube channel and makes a cut of every sale those reviews generates o

Rebuilding South Africa’s construction sector

The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with South Africa’s slowing economy has created a double setback for the construction industry. That’s according to financial services group Old Mutual. Last month construction firms, Group Five and Esor, both in business rescue announced that they would be delisting from the JSE. Today, WBHO warned annual profits would plunge 150 per cent, reflecting the impact of the Covid-19 lock-downs. Ian Woodley, Analyst: Old Mutual Equities and Arthur Karas, Portfolio Manager: Old Mutual Investment Group Macro Solutions join CNBC Africa for more.
- Advertisement -