Small News Spotlight: OjaExpress, designed by and for immigrants, offers same-day delivery to ethnic grocery stores

The Crypto Daily - Movers and Shakers - April 2, 2021

OjaExpress, which transitioned from passion project to venture-backed business in 2020, bills itself a platform designed by and for immigrants to be “the United Nations of food at your fingertips.” The company has about a dozen ethnic grocery stores on its platform, most of them selling African and Caribbean products and others catering to Indian and Hispanic customers. It currently operates only in Chicago, but a significant expansion is afoot. “A lot of underrepresented communities, when we had problems we would wait for someone else to solve them,” said Sobitan, who grew up in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood and now lives in Bronzeville. “As a healthcare consultant I learned how to solve problems myself.” More than 30 stores are poised to join the OjaExpress platform, which aims to add 100 stores by the end of 2022. It plans to enter new markets, starting with Houston and Washington, DC this year, and serve more “cultural communities” by partnering with grocers specializing in Asian, Middle Eastern, and European foods.

Sobitan discovered that friends faced similar frustrations: they could get their regular groceries delivered through services like Peapod or Instacart, but they had to travel in person, often long distances, to pick up culturally specific foods. Sobitan’s family had long frequented La Fruteria, a store on Chicago’s South Side specializing in African and Caribbean products such as Ghanaian yams and custom cuts of goat meat. Hoping to save himself the trip after a long week on the road, Sobitan tried to order online. But it wasn’t an option.

“These stores lacked digital integration,” Sobitan said. He reached out to his friend Fola Dada, a Nigerian immigrant who worked as a software engineer at a fintech firm, and together they created OjaExpress to bring the convenience of same-day grocery delivery to immigrant communities yearning for a taste of home. When Boyede Sobitan worked as a healthcare consultant, traveling four or five days out of every week, his return home to Chicago was often met with a request from his Nigerian mother: Would he accompany her to the African grocery store?

The award was a welcome validation for the fledgling entrepreneurs, who have learned from initial missteps. “I wouldn’t recommend it, to do it the way we did it,” Sobitan said. “We didn’t really understand startups or nuances of the market.” OjaExpress, which participated in the Polsky Center’s Small News Growth Program in 2019 and afterwards incubated at the Polsky Exchange, in December was recognized with a Chicago Innovation Neighborhood Award at an annual event honoring the city’s most promising startups.

“When you come to our site, Do you feel seen? Do you feel heard? Do you feel that we understand you as a culture and a family?” Sobitan said. In addition to offering specialty products difficult to find in mainstream grocery stores, OjaExpress intends to provide a “culturally competent” experience for shoppers, who include not only immigrant families but also foodies eager to explore different cuisines.

The News Highlights

  • Small News Spotlight: OjaExpress, designed by and for immigrants, offers same-day delivery to ethnic grocery stores
  • Check the latest News news updates and information about business, finance and more.
Disclaimer: If you need to edit or update this news from compsmag then kindly contact us Learn more

For Latest News Follow us on Google News


Latest Headlines
  • Show all
  • Trending News
  • Popular By week
Pa. passes 40,000 deaths to COVID-19
Pa. passes 40,000 deaths to COVID-19
Why have there been more COVID-19 deaths in 2021 despite the availability of vaccines? In another previous interview, Goldman said that vaccinated ...
Second local child dies of COVID-19 |  local news
Second local child dies of COVID-19 | local news
The death comes amid skyrocketing case levels from the fast-spreading omicron variant. Even though deaths among the younger set remain rare, children are ...
What should Maruti Suzuki investors do after Q3 results: buy, sell or hold?
What should Maruti Suzuki investors do after Q3 results: buy, sell or hold?
The company’s net profit stood at Rs 475 crore in the previous quarter. Standalone revenues for the Gurgaon-based carmaker stood at Rs 23,246 crore, down 1 ...
Future Enterprises agrees to sell stake in insurance JV to Generali
Future Enterprises agrees to sell stake in insurance JV to Generali
FGIICL is a joint venture between Future Enterprises and Generali Participations Netherlands NV (Generali). “FEL has agreed to sell a 25 per cent stake in ...
COVID UPDATE: CT positivity rate is 9.73% |  Connecticut News
COVID UPDATE: CT positivity rate is 9.73% | Connecticut News
On Thursday, 693,386 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up 3,036 since Wednesday. Officials say 31,201 tests were ...
US consumer protection agency adds stress on banks over fees
US consumer protection agency adds stress on banks over fees
Under its new director, Rohit Chopra, who took up his position last October, the CFPB is targeting bank fees that are particularly unpopular with consumers, ...
Live News: McDonald’s sales growth lags after Covid lockdowns in China
Live News: McDonald’s sales growth lags after Covid lockdowns in China
Levi predicted that net revenues will improve by 11 to 13 per cent in fiscal 2022 to between $6.4bn and $6.5bn, above analysts’ forecast of $6.37bn. It expects ...
Last year, AT&T added more phone subscribers than the previous ten years combined.
Last year, AT&T added more phone subscribers than the previous ten years combined.
Chief executive John Stankey attributes that strong growth to AT&T’s network performance. It was also bolstered, in part, by deals offering free iPhones ...
it’s time to rethink this popular retirement rule |  personal finances
it’s time to rethink this popular retirement rule | personal finances
Also, Americans are living longer these days than they were years ago. If you’re retiring on the early side, you may need your nest egg to last more than ...
The Legion Phone 3 Elite and Pro are two new out-of-this-world gaming phones from Lenovo
The Legion Phone 3 Elite and Pro are two new out-of-this-world gaming phones from Lenovo
As if the 18GB of RAM weren’t crazy enough, the Legion Phone 3 Pro is rumored to have a 128GB SSD in addition to the 512GB of USF 3.1 storage. We can only ...
Show next
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compsmag - Latest News In Tech and Business
Logo