Soon. Agege bread for 3,000-strong African community in Lviv

He has never had previous experience of work in a bakery but Emmanuel Yevo, a Nigerian student of medicine in Lviv, is not far from launching his own line of African bread for the discerning Eastern European clients. Though right, his target audience is African students that despite the war situation in Eastern Ukraine come in droves lured by the low costs of college education.

Emmanuel Yevo of Nigerian Kaduna State working hard on his Yevo bread project in Lviv, Ukraine

What made you think of baking bread for the African community in Lviv? How many Africans live in this Western Ukrainian city, according to your estimates?

Roughly 3,000 of Africans. If there is anything the Africans in Lviv miss so much is the African food. I decided to bring something they will appreciate so much in Lviv and all the various cities in Ukraine which is the African kind of bread called the Agege and the reason for doing all this is to make all Africans in Lviv and Ukraine as a whole to feel at home and also encourage their stay here.

Are you planning on a launch of a full-circle bakery? The ROI there takes about three years and it will require an inflow of at least USD 90,000.

As a beginner I will say NO but as I keep growing in the business I will in the future.

In the US, mini-bakeries are 60% of the bread market, 70% in France, 85% in Italy and a whopping 95% in Spain. There are about 20,000 mini-bakeries in Germany alone. In Ukraine we have about 400 mini-bakeries. Most of them cater to the population of Western and Southern Ukraine. As for Bäckerei, most of them are concentrated in Kyiv. Do you plan to open a mini-bakery or a proper Bäckerei that would mostly offer add-on products like coffee, tea, juice, burgers, wine (60 % of products on sale)?

I intend opening a mini-bakery. My selection of produce will include African bread but also some kind of African short cakes e.g gala and some other cookies.

In general, a proper bread business would offer 10-20 kinds of bread, 30-40 types of buns and 10-15 varieties of cakes, buscuits and other confectionery. Tell us more about your African bread varities? What is it that people in Nigeria like about the bread you want to introduce into the Ukrainian market?

Africa has so many varieties of bread. But the most popular ones are coconut bread, butter bread, Agege bread. My plan is to stick to one kind of bread which is the Agege for now. But it all depends on the consumer demand. Agege is a kind of  bread that is loved by most Africans because of it taste and softness.

What will be the brand name of your bread?

Yevo Bread

To start the non-full-circle bakery business one needs at least USD 20,000. The ROI will take six months to a year and a half to realize itself. Any ideas on how to raise the capital? Sell to a small group of friends? 

I think raising capital will not be a big problem by God’s grace. As Africans, family and friends will play a role and of cause my business will also contribute some percentage as it grows. I will start off by selling to a small group of friends.

Have you considered social entrepreneurship partnerships? Like the Lviv-based Horikhovyy Dim, a biscuits bakery that empowers vulnerable young women through skills development. Some proportion of their cafe and reastaurant sales proceeds goes to cover the accommodation costs of these ladies.

Meeting them is on my to-do list.

Do you plan to get in touch with such bakers associations as listed here and the Tsentr Pekariv in Lviv?

Sure, why not. Networking is key to any business.


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