…the story of Big Samps Market
Typically, frequenting the market to purchase food items is a general characteristic of every household. However, with life in the city becoming increasingly busy for people, some entrepreneurs are living up to expectation by providing solutions to some of the challenges we face in our daily lives. This week’s Inspiring Startups features one of such entrepreneurs – Elselund – who has brought the market to our doorsteps. Let’s read her story to learn more.
Elselund Ewudzie-Sampson is the founder and team lead at Big Samps Market, a grocery delivery service that allows you to ‘Shop Smarter and Cook Faster’.
Elselund, affectionately known in her business environment as ‘Adwoa Agbogbloshie’, had her basic education in Koforidua. She proceeded to Winneba Senior High School and had her first degree in Communication Design from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
For Elselund, the two words that changed her career path from a full-time graphic designer to a full-time ‘agripreneur’ – leading a young team to establish a convenient, and affordable grocery delivery service in the country – are ‘grocery delivery’.
The Big Samps Market journey
In 2014, during food packaging research in school, Elselund came across the words ‘grocery delivery’ – and this being so new to her, she decided to research and find out more. Through her research, she realised there wasn’t much data on it in the country; hence, she knew it was not a common service in Ghana. The result from her search prompted a potential business idea.
She spoke to her mother, who used to sell foodstuffs, about the idea of shopping, packaging and delivering foodstuffs to people in their homes and offices instead of customers having to go through the stress of travelling to the market even when they do not have time for that due to their busy schedules.
In 2015, with her savings she ran a pilot service on-campus that did not go well. But because she believed in the idea, she didn’t give up on it and rather worked toward righting the wrongs.
“I learned from what made it fail and kept correcting the mistakes after I left school in 2015. Then in July 2017, being certain about the idea, I registered the business and we started official operations on August 1, 2017,” she narrated.
Since then, she hasn’t stopped researching and asking questions of customers and friends in order to learn what the customers need. This, she said, has been instrumental to the business’s growth and influenced its innovative services.
She also created a business plan and identified its Unique Selling Propositions (USPs).
For Elselund, “Identifying your USPs as a business is very important yet challenging step. It is what sets you apart from the competition, and identifying this has given us direction as a business”.
The progress so far
Currently, Big Samps Market is one of the most-known grocery delivery service providers in Accra. Beyond just delivering groceries, the business has added an extra service known as ‘meal-kits’ to its offering.
“In 2018, we observed a stream of demand coming in for ingredients of specific meals. After years of research, we developed our first set of meal-kits which we called the ‘Banku & Okra Bundle’ in 2021. The bundle comes with all the ingredients a customer needs to cook their meal. The ingredients are already prepared; thus the Okra is chopped, onions blended, garden-eggs chopped, etc. This saves the customer two hours of shopping time, an hour of preparation time, and another extra hour of cooking time. With a meal bundle, one can prepare their favourite Banku and Okra in an hour or less.
With high demand for the meal kit service, we have currently developed seven meal bundles for seven different Ghanaian meals. They are Banku and Okra, Yam and Kontomire, Fufu and Abenkwan, Fufu and light soup, Fufu and groundnut soup, Jollof bundle, the fried rice bundle, and protein bundle,” she said.
How experience and education has helped
Elselund’s educational background and profession in advertising and media has played a huge role in the business. It allows her to manage all the social media accounts and also design their packages and marketing communication materials, making it easy to market the services creatively.
Having worked with other organisations before starting her business, her experiences have as well made her better understand her staff and know how important internal roles are to growth of the business.
“I was once in their shoes. It doesn’t come that easy to understand your staff, but often when you sit back to reflect you realise they are just like us when we were subordinates. I never liked dull, autocratic, quiet and unfriendly working environments, so I make sure that doesn’t happen with my team. We have fun and respect each other’s opinions,” she said.
Big Samps Market is working toward properly strategising its marketing to get more visibility, drive demand, and influence sales in the next year.
As part of efforts to establish the business as a household name, Elsehund intends to invest in machines and equipment which will speed up her work and make operations run more quickly and conveniently.
“Startups are a transition of hobbies to business. Therefore, even when they have been turned into businesses, we still lack the know-how to operate them effectively for growth. This makes it very difficult for us to make the business profitable to ensure growth.
Second is capital; when you need to expand, you realise that if you do not have family and friends to run to, it will be difficult to get a huge capital injection,” she said – alluding to the killer lending rates of banks.
What can government do to encourage entrepreneurship?
Instead of generalising workshops, she suggests there should be hands-on training and workshops led by seasoned business owners, focusing on particular industries.
She added that an introduction of basic entrepreneurship training into the education system is also crucial.
Economic empowerment for women
Elselund believes that when women are equipped with the right skills and given the right opportunities, they will help grow businesses and economies enormously.
“We do not do this alone, we empower other women, our colleagues, society and our families.”
Advice to young entrepreneurs
“Entrepreneurs should not stop asking questions, learning and being innovative. Feedback is also very important. Though they may come in unfriendly tones, they help businesses correct mistakes or improve,” she advised.
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Facebook: Big Samps Market