Oluwaseun Fasoranti

Oluwaseun ‘Seun’ Fasoranti (Business and Management Studies 2010) is the co-founder of Hakkan Foods Limited, a Nigerian food brand that specialises in organic snacks. Committed to sustainable growth, Seun aims to positively impact his staff, the environment, and the community through his company.

Seun Fasoranti posing with his family.

Seun's story

After completing his BSc in Business and Management Studies at Sussex, Seun returned to his native Nigeria with a keen interest in sustainable horticulture and food production, inspired by what he had learned and experienced during his studies. He established Hakkan Foods in 2018 in Abuja, with a simple motto: “Eat good. Live good”. The company's flagship products, sweet potato chips in original and suya pepper varieties, utilise traditional Nigerian ingredients and flavours. In addition to his role at Hakkan Foods, Seun also works for one of Nigeria’s largest insurance companies, where he specialises in providing insurance products for small farmers and rural communities.

What was it like studying at a UK university as an international student?

The experience at Sussex was invaluable. The exposure to a diverse array of people from around the world, exchanging ideas and cultures, and the shared growth over time has profoundly shaped my identity. Some of my most cherished memories stem from the meaningful moments spent with friends during my tenure as an international student.

What inspired you to set up Hakkan Foods?

I have a passion for making a substantial positive impact in the local food and beverage industry, one that I share with my partners in Hakkan Foods. Given our common interest and experience in agriculture, it was a natural choice to start our own company.

How did your BSc in Business and Management Studies help you?

My studies provided a solid theoretical foundation, which proved invaluable in founding Hakkan Foods. We did however face manufacturing challenges, especially in the Nigerian market, which presented unique issues for us.

Inspired by my time at Sussex, I have a passion for advocacy and for standing up for my beliefs.”

What are some of the challenges in sustainable farming and food production that you've had to overcome?

  • We had a limited supply of capital. Confronting prohibitive interest rates from commercial banks, we initially self-funded our ventures. Currently, we are actively seeking external financial support to alleviate the strain.
  • A lack of sufficient infrastructure. Operating amid substandard infrastructure poses multifaceted challenges, including poor road networks, a shortage of supportive governing laws for startups, and persistent issues with electricity production and distribution.
  • The impact of inflation. As an import-dependent nation, Nigeria's economy is significantly influenced by the price of the dollar. The escalating dollar-to-naira ratio directly impacts the cost of materials, amplifying the complexities of business operations.

How important is social responsibility and sustainability in your business ventures?

Inspired by my time at Sussex, I have a passion for advocacy and for standing up for my beliefs. My farming venture embodies principles akin to social enterprise, prioritising the wellbeing of workers, reminiscent of businesses like John Lewis. Our core objectives revolve around establishing vegetable and herb gardens nationwide. Sussex played a pivotal role in shaping my perspective, introducing me to visionaries like Muhammad Yunus and instilling the concept of sustainable, green business in my entrepreneurial pursuits.

Seun Fasoranti standing with 3 friends on the Brighton Promenade in front of Brighton Beach.

Seun Fasoranti visiting the seafront in Brighton with friends during his time studying at Sussex

What was your favourite place on campus?

The memory of walking from Falmer House to Falmer Station during the winter months, accompanied by the construction sounds of the Amex Stadium and the soundtrack of my headphones is indelibly etched in my mind. Sometimes, certain moments hold a unique resonance that remains vivid over time.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of setting up their own business?

  • Craft a meticulous plan with explicit goals and objectives.
  • Emphasise the significance of managing cash flow, consistently uphold a budget, and regularly review your performance.
  • Cultivate patience and unwavering determination.
  • Crucially, seek insights from accomplished individuals by engaging in thoughtful conversations, probing into their successful experiences and strategies.

Seun is among thousands of inspiring alumni on Sussex Connect. Join now to seek mentoring and industry advice and get a head start on your career.