Item 13: An African Food Podcast
Building an African Food Marketplace with Whitney Osei-Akintaju
Whitney Osei-Akintaju was born in Kibi, Ghana, and migrated to the United States with her father when she was six years old. In her sophomore year of high school, she took a web design and multimedia class which sparked her passion for tech. In 2011, she began competing in pageants and was named Miss West Africa USA First Runner-Up. She was also Miss Ghana Tourism USA 2015. Her corporate career began in banking and finance working for companies like Bank of America. From there she moved into tech, working for Sage Software and Apple as a Technical Analyst. In 2017, while working at The 100 Companies as an engagement coordinator, she was pregnant with her first child, Cassidy. A busy mom, she searched for ways to purchase high-quality, authentic African grocery items online. Unable to find any, she decided to create one. Ethnic District is an e-commerce marketplace where African CPG brands can sell their products directly to customers, retail and wholesale. She started Ethnic District with just $80 and has grown it into a six-figure business organically as a solo entrepreneur. Companies like Warner Brothers Studios, CBS, and the Museum of Food and Drink have already used Ethnic District to source products for PR packages, events, and recipe boxes. She is an IfundWomen Entrepreneur of the Year Semifinalist in the Food and Beverage Category. With Ethnic District, Whitney hopes to bring more awareness to African products and make them more easily accessible in the western world. She wants to see African products become a part of mainstream American consumer culture. She also wants to provide tools and resources for makers in Africa to create products that meet international standards so that the continent can capture more market share in the CPG space.
Photo courtesy of Whitney Osei-Akintaju.
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