Interview with Mariam Jimoh, Founder at Specialist Grocery Start-up: Oja

Oja is a super simple solution transforming access to cultural and specialist groceries. We are a startup bridging the gap between those who want access to ethnic or cultural products and local multicultural stores that carry these specialist products.

It’s very simple. You order from 1000s of products on Oja app, we pick the products up from the local store you’ve ordered from and deliver it to you as early as same-day delivery.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Oja was born out of frustration, I created Oja because it was something I personally needed. I am one of the exact customer segments Oja is serving; British-born children of (Nigerian) immigrants. I moved out of my childhood home, ready to take on the big bad world but still wanted access to the greatest connection to “home” I’ve had growing up; Nigerian foods and products.

I’ve spent years shopping in my parents’ cupboards when I visit or just having to substitute ingredients and products for lesser supermarket found products I never go on to buy again. This frustration prompted me to find a solution for this gap in the market.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Just do. I think, if you’re like me, it’s very easy to get bogged down with making sure everything is ready or perfect but my biggest advice would be to release at 70%. Jeff Bezoz mentions this as the philosophy at Amazon. As you get more feedback with something actually in the market, you can then build on this to get you closer to the 100% you were looking for. Entrepreneurship is certainly for the do-ers of the world.

What can we hope to see from Oja in the future?

Oja has really only just begun, we’ve just recently released national delivery alongside our same day and nominated day delivery meaning you can shop across the entire app so long as you’re in the UK. We are also onboarding 4 more stores over Christmas.

We are also building a recipe platform that will be implemented into the app, our hope is that you can cook, connect and learn about food in different cultures via the app quite easily and that starts with access to groceries. Our long term vision is to provide local access to any culture’s grocery products. We are building the future locally global food economy.