Every morning before leaving for his secondary school, young Prince Francis sold akara, pap and bread, but little did he know he has a future in the business.
After shocking his parents by discontinuing his education at Akwa Ibom State University in 2020, the young man transformed his mum’s akara business into a force to reckon with.
Akaraboy said his parents were not in full support of his decision to quit school.
Photo Credit: Prince FrancisSource: Original
In this explosive and inspiring interview with THETALK.NG‘s Victor Duru, the 29-year-old shed light on how he turned a roadside occupation into a ‘billion dollar’ brand that now has a partner involved.
Prince Francis, alias Akaraboy, had a humble background
Prince Francis, popularly known as Akaraboy, said he hails from Nsit Ibom LGA in Akwa Ibom but was born and raised in the city of Portharcourt, Rumuodara.
The 29-year-old is the fourth child and first son of a family of seven – he has three elder sisters and a younger brother.
According to Akaraboy, his mum started the business in 2005 and recalled how he sold akara, pap and bread every morning before going to school and this earned him his alias. In his words:
“During my early days as a teen, my mum started the akara business. This was in 2005.
“She used funds from the business to see me through secondary school and the few years I spent in the university.
“Akaraboy was the name my friends would always call me because I sold akara, bread and akamu (pap) every morning before going to school, though I didn’t like it because it was sounding like mockery.
“Little did I know God had a plan. That plan was an identity and a global brand to reckon with.”
Akaraboy’s parents weren’t pleased he quit school
When quizzed on his decision to quit school, the young man opened up that he was studying maritime engineering at Akwa Ibom State University but quit in his 300 level due to financial constraints.
“I was a student of Akwa Ibom State University studying marine engineering.
“I dropped out at my 300L due to a lack of funds to take care of fees and other bills.”
Akaraboy said his decision did not sit well with his parents but he had urged them to trust him. He said:
“Though my parents were not in full support, I had to give them reasons. Since they were not able to fund my schooling anymore, they should trust me on this one, which they did and today they’re proud of the outcome.”
How Akaraboy turned his mum’s business into a ‘billion dollar’ brand
While publicising his mum’s rebranded akara business on social media, Akaraboy revealed she had been doing it for over 25 years before he stepped in after quitting school.
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On how he transformed the business, Akara said they changed the production process, added proteins to the akara and did a lot of packaging.
“We rebranded by changing the process of production I and my mum have been using for over the years.
“From firewood to industrial gas, from the roadside where rain and sun beat us, plus the pressure from the fire will hit my mum, to a well-designed and presentable mini spot, covered away from the rain and sun.
“A lot has changed.”
Continuing, he added:
“It’s been 3years now since I started running with the vision of rebranding and packaging the akara brand.
“This year, we had our big break of an investor who is now a partner in the business.”
Akaraboy speaks on school and the future of the akara business
While appreciating his father for supporting them, Akaraboy hinted at returning to school.
“I consider going back to school…Acquiring a degree at least.
“But I have a passion for film school. On second thought, I might switch from acquiring a degree to acquiring a skill in film making.”
He said their plan is to spread their rebranded akara business across the nation and beyond.
“Our future plan is to own a breakfast café, where people could walk in and have both breakfast, lunch and dinner (all fries).
“We also envision expanding to strategic places across the nation and diaspora as wellas expanding our newly found innovation and amazing taste of our products.”
Unemployed graduate turns to akara frying business for survival
Meanwhile, THETALK.NG previously reported that a graduate had begun frying akara for a living after an unsuccessful job search.
In an interview with BBC News Pidgin, the man said that being the firstborn of seven children, he knew he had to make ends meet the hard way to look after his siblings.
He revealed that he could never be discouraged from what he is doing, saying that he learned how to cook at home.
The akara seller said he realised that the business is what puts food on his family’s table. With a voice laced with strong determination, the man said that he one day hopes to stop using firewood and switch to gas as soon as he gets funds.