Alexis Oladipo is the founder of Gym Bites, a food business based in the UK
Her love for entrepreneurship started as a 16-year-old sales assistant at Selfridges. Although, she gave her best as an employee, Oladipo’s desire was to work for herself.
After graduating from university, she wanted to pursue a career in fashion but her applications were rejected.
At 23, she decided to become a freelance stylist after she was inspired by the bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, which encourages financial independence.
In a chat with BuzzFeed, she said, “I began to take control of my thoughts and what I could be. You know, really go for it and make something of myself. You see, I learnt that if you can’t get a job, create one – and that’s what I did.”
Although she was doing well in business and making the right connections, her passion was fading and her freelance income was unstable.
Finally, Oladipo, who is a media and communications graduate took a job as a cleaner at an investment bank in the City in order to make ends meet.
According to Oladipo, she went through a painful breakup, had problems with her health, and lost a lot of weight, while she felt useless at some other times.
Recalling how she was ridiculed by her her peers on social media for working as a cleaner, Oladipo said, that only inspired her to want to do better, while she held on to Christ.
Her turning point came when she was introduced to the Prince’s Trust, a charity that helps young people get into jobs, training, or education.
With the trust, Oladipo was able to Oladipo said the trust allowed her to survey different types of business ventures and develop her ideas.
After changing her business plan four times, Oladipo then created Gym Bites, a food service for people who want to eat healthily but are on the go.
Gym Bites come in handy jars stuffed with wholesome ingredients, like prawns, spinach, broccoli, seeds, and quinoa, flavoured with fresh herbs and spices.
In 2015, buyers from Selfridges stumbled upon her company’s Instagram page and told her they wanted her product in their food hall.
Since then, Oladipo has been featured in Coach magazine and was shortlisted for the 2016 Precious Awards Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
She also described challenging stereotypes as her motivation.
“I wanted to make a product that when people google it, they’ll be like, ‘What? This is a black Nigerian girl from Hackney? Not a white, grey man worth millions of pounds? Don’t box yourself in to what black people are ‘expected’ to do. Don’t let this world tell you that you can only do so much. Forget about your skin tone – I’m just as equal as Sally over the road with blonde hair. The world is your oyster.”