Temini Ayo-Kasumu graduated from Essex with an LLB Law in 2018 and is founder of Ede, a start-up with big goals to transform the world of feminine care.

Temini on her graduation day in a cap and gown.

Tell us about your start-up

It started during a series of brainstorming sessions about utilising banana leaves and operating as a circular economy with James Cracknell, one of the Entrepreneurs in residence on the Essex Startups team.  I pitched a few potential ideas, and my favourite was to repurpose banana waste to make feminine care disposable products. He seconded my thoughts, and here we are!

The name ‘Ede’ was coined from the Yoruba (a tribe in Nigeria) word ‘Ogede’ which means banana because we use banana fibres to make feminine care products such as sanitary towels.

What made you take the step to turn your idea into reality?

I have a really good support system with both my family and the Essex Startups team. The encouragement from both ends spurred me on into taking action.

How did it feel when you made that decision – were you nervous, excited?

Definitely a mix of both. I felt nervous because I was stepping into an entrepreneurial space that I never thought I would occupy, and excited because I genuinely love what I am doing!

How have Essex Startups supported you and your business?

Ede is launching in a few months, so everything is still very much in progress but Essex Startups have helped with the process of coming up with a credible business idea and provided access to helpful resources and webinars that have helped me build on my idea and simultaneously grow my network. I had one-to-one sessions where I was challenged to not only think critically and creatively, but to also trust myself more.

They have provided opportunities for me to pitch and receive funding as well - I recently secured a grant from Santander which will go towards automating the extraction process of the fibres I use to make my products.

Essex Startups have been truly amazing, I’ve received so much support and been offered so many opportunities that I have nothing but immense gratitude for the entire team! 

What are your goals for the Ede? If you think a few years forward, where would you like to be?

Looking to the future, I want to be a dominant presence in the feminine space and the circular economy. I want to impact the lives of women still living in poverty or oppressive cultures and be part of the change women everywhere need to reconnect with their bodies and embrace wholesome cycle care. 

What would you say to other graduates who have dreams of starting their own businesses?

Being 100% ready is a myth and perfection does not exist so take that leap and just ‘begin’.  You will find out that you are either more ready than you think or that you can get ready during the process. 

Whatever your business idea may be, Essex Startups can help you with it. The support they offer is free, available to current students and recent graduates and includes:

  • Personal one-to-one business advice
  • Opportunities to pitch for funding (Prizes are typically £1,000 or more, depending on the stage of your business)
  • Events and workshops
  • Access to high-end computers and other media equipment
  • Shared office spaces

Starting a business is hard work. If you are the motivated type, they can make the journey a little easier for you. It all starts with a talk. Get in touch with Essex Startups.