Nimota Salami first became interested in working in the food services industry in her home country of Nigeria, where she earned her degree in catering and hotel management. However, after immigrating to the United States, she pivoted to working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and as a physical therapy aid to support herself until she could pursue something more suited to her educational background.
In 2020, Nimota was inspired by a friend’s success in receiving a $100,000 contract for producing sauces to be distributed to individuals who couldn’t go to the grocery store due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She began testing her own West African-style sauce recipes, which she had been making at home for years, and soon launched her own business. The venture exceeded her expectations and became popular within the West African community of Chicago. However, due to personal reasons, Nimota was forced to leave the Midwest and relocate to Atlanta.
After getting connected to the IRC in Atlanta’s Community Navigator Pilot Program—a two-year initiative to support up to 600 diverse small business owners across Georgia in recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—Nimota was supported to reestablish her business from scratch under the new name of Royal Nigerian Foods. With the help of her IRC Business Counselor, she researched the pros and cons of contracting with a local co-packing company to mass-produce her products—including agonyin, ofada and obe ata pepper sauces, as well as Zobo drink, a refreshing bright red Hibiscus beverage made from dried sorrel leaves—and is currently in the process of finalizing her recipes! Alongside selling her products to grocery stores, Royal Nigerian Foods provides catering services in the form of veggie and chicken pies among other homemade African dishes, plus delicious Nigerian poundcake. Nimota is currently pursuing a microloan through the IRC’s subsidiary bank, the Center for Economic Opportunity, to fund this expansion process.
Working with the IRC has been phenomenal. My business counselor has been very patient and was very thorough which helped put my mind at rest.
—Nimota Salami Dairo, owner of Royal Nigerian Foods
Reflecting on her experience, Nimota shared, “Working with the IRC has been phenomenal. My Business Counselor has been very patient and was very thorough which helped put my mind at rest. He helped me acquire what I deserve and take my business to the next level. He guided me through the process of getting my license, marketing, and sourcing ingredients in grocery stores.”
Nimota’s determination and hard work has allowed her to begin placing orders for her sauces and other products to sell, and she is now successfully building her brand in Atlanta. Follow @RoyalNigerian on Instagram to keep up with Nimota’s journey, and to enjoy her catering services, place your order by visiting her website or by calling 470-615-6737.
Are you a business owner or aspiring entrepreneur in Georgia? To learn more about the IRC in Atlanta's
Microenterprise Development (MED) program, or to access our MED services, please contact [email protected].
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Heloise Ahoure, at [email protected] or 678-636-8941.