From seed to cup: How Princess Adeyinka Tekenah is making an impact in the coffee industry


From seed to cup: How Princess Adeyinka Tekenah is making an impact in the coffee industry

Seedstars Global

MARCH 09, 2023

With a passion for creating meaningful change and armed with an eye-opening insight, Princess Adeyinka Tekenah embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. She discovered that a vast amount of coffee grown by local farmers in Nigeria was going to waste due to lack of offtakers. She realized that this represented a huge hole in the market of Nigerian coffee drinkers, so, she set out to create innovative solutions that would unite local farmers with consumers for mutual benefit.



“I wanted to change that coffee narrative by building coffee-centered solutions that boost local production and consumption for consumers,” Princess shared. “I want to help local farmers access the market.”

As a woman entrepreneur, however, Princess faces many challenges, “It’s been challenging to balance life and business dynamics through the social and cultural nuances in Nigeria that show up daily as I build our coffee enterprise,” she shared.

Nevertheless, she continues to champion the growth and the value of Nigerian coffee which has positioned her as one of its most active advocates. In 2020, she was elected as Nigeria's 1st National President for Women in Coffee and Tea.

On this incredible journey, she mentions that with the support of a SAFEEM program (the non-profit branch of the Seedstars Group) called Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A), she was able to receive valuable mentorship as well as collaborative opportunities with peers that have allowed her to incorporate the leadership skills necessary for running a successful business.

She launched Happy Coffee, an indigenous seed-to-cup Nigerian coffee company with a mission to improve the consumption and production of locally sourced coffee. Happy Coffee is both a coffee brand and coffee-solution company. Their aim is to build a global coffee organization using technology, whilst enriching 1 million coffee producers across Africa. They use a dynamic social business model that educates and equips farmers with skills and their own coffee. The group also tackles a major social problem in Nigeria and Africa at large: youth unemployment.

Currently, 90 percent of coffee consumed in Nigeria is imported, hereby creating opportunities within the coffee sector, where the roast coffee market in Nigeria was equal to $681.60M. The coffee market in Nigeria is forecasted to reach $4.62B (in retail prices), thus increasing at a CAGR of 18.13% per annum for the period between 2020-2025. Fortunately, there are those who are looking to change this trend.

In the past 7 years, Princess’ participation in the Nigerian coffee value chain has provided a boost in demand for Nigerian coffee, allowing local farmers to earn income through her initiatives. With a $5000 seed grant in 2015, they have successfully designed 13 market fit coffee products, established 3 coffee experience centers, served over 30,000 cups of coffee, and pioneered a coffee festival with 47 percent growth rate.

In the next 2 years, their goal is to grow our revenue to $2M, provide 1,000 direct jobs, and expand their portfolio to 5 Nigerian cities and 2 countries, whilst boosting the state of their coffee value chain participation by empowering coffee farmers, especially women, and the youth, through partnering with local coffee processors.

Beyond coffee, they have also partnered with various organizations to provide free shoes and meals to over 500 indigenous children as well as micro-grants to women entrepreneurs in order to help them further their businesses.

Suffice to say, Princess is breaking down barriers and not only redefining what it means to drink coffee in Nigeria, but she is also setting an example for what strong female entrepreneurship looks like. She has also won several awards such as the Start Up Woman of the Year 2017 by Her Network; Cheri Blair Ambassador for Women; Most Innovative Coffee Company 2017; Best Local Coffee Brand 2018; and more.

Through participating in WE4A, Princess was able to receive a grant that was used to acquire and launch a Happy Coffee Roastery, reducing its production costs by 45% and simultaneously mitigating risks associated with acquiring blends or raw materials. On top of that, the successful marketing strategies also deployed throughout this period led to a significant increase in customer acquisition alongside revenue generation.

Princess' advice for other female entrepreneurs: “Be willing to adapt to change and be innovative. Invest in your team as it takes the right team to build a vision.” She also emphasizes the need to protect one’s mental health by taking time out for yourself.

Princess Adeyinka Tekenah is a shining example of a powerful woman entrepreneur who is building her business and a community of female founders. We’re happy that our Seedstars Programs were able to support her in the growth of Happy Coffee into what it is today.

For more information about WE4A, visit the program page here. Learn more about Happy Coffee here.

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