Chika Russell started Chika’s in 2014, a healthy snacks company inspired by the recipes and ingredients of her childhood in Anambra, Nigeria. Chika, a CIMA-qualified accountant and a former investment bank analyst who lives in London, left a career in finance after being frustrated by the bureaucracy of big corporations and the absence of a truly dynamic work environment to follow this passion.
In 2015, she made headlines across the UK for impressing five judges to win Dragons’ Den, and turning down one of the judges’ offer of a  £30,000 investment in Chika’s and instead, deciding to launch her business by herself. At the time, judge Peter Jones offered the £30,000 in exchange for a 25% ownership. while Chika only wanted to release 5% of the company. Now, her company is worth £1 million, and she owns 100% of it.

According to Chika, she turned down the investment so that she could own her achievements:

“Waitrose were coming on board and Boots had expressed an interest. I thought: ‘This could be global.’ I felt if I had Peter Jones on board, then if Sainsbury’s showed interest I would have thought it was due to him. It wouldn’t be as rewarding.”

Chika’s produces gluten-free, vegan snacks with hand cooked plantain, almonds, cashews, chickpeas and peanuts forming the basis for the range of snacks. There are currently eight different Chika’s product offerings.

Today, not only are Chika’s snacks stocked by some of the largest UK largest retail food brands like Waitrose and Wholefoods, she has now joined exhibitors at World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg hoping to introduce her snacks to airlines.