Roxanne Omalo came to Planting Seeds on a mission: to gain financing for a mobile hot-dog unit that would allow her to take her business, TriniWeenie, across the country and sell hot dogs nationwide.
The ambitious Mayaro native was one of the first applicants for the premier season of the TV series Planting Seeds, and at one of the Planting Seeds workshops at Ernst & Young, she won the heart of the series’ producer with her distinct passion and drive. Omalo was subsequently cast to appear on the first season, and pitched her business idea before a panel of investors. However, the investors found the mobile hot-dog unit unsustainable, and suggested that she enter the local retail market instead, by packaging her TriniWeenies and marketing them to grocery stores.
Although Omalo remained stoic in the face of rejection, she was overcome by disappointment as she left the set. She thought of her son and two nieces who had accompanied her to the set and looked up to her; walking away from the investors, her first thought was, “What will they think of me? That I couldn’t make it?” Heartbroken, tears coursed down her face as she gathered her things—but it was at that precise moment that Omalo decided not to give up.
The next morning, she contacted the producer of Planting Seeds and asked for a second try. She was told that second chances weren’t given or catered for in the filming schedule. Nevertheless, Omalo’s determination impressed the producer, who went on to tell her that if she was serious and came back with a revised, sustainable business plan, her second chance would be considered.
Two weeks later, Omalo was back at the Ernst & Young workshops, and gathering all the information she needed for her new plan. She priced out the required equipment, found out how to package her goods, and ensured that she knew all of the regulations and controls she would need to comply with to get TriniWeenie hot dogs in supermarkets.
Then it was time for her to re-pitch to the same panel of investors who had turned her down. This time, however, she was asking for TT$200,000 so that she could mass-produce TriniWeenies for grocery stores. In what felt like the blink of an eye, her pitch was over—and the outcome was everything she could have hoped for. Not only did she hook an investor, but she received an offer of TT$250,000.
Omalo’s tenacity, strength of purpose, and drive kept her going, and today TriniWeenies is fully set up for mass production and will be available in supermarkets from this December. Needless to say, Omalo is well on her way to putting TriniWeenies on the map as a 100-per-cent local and undeniably tasty hot dog with a winning slogan: “TriniWeenie, the best Weenie in Trini!”
Today Roxanne has taken the investment that she received and purchased the machinery and equipment, needed to mass-produce her Triniweenies. She is fianalizing her packaging and will be launching Triniweenies nationwide in grocery stores across the country.
*Triniweenie’s Investor chooses to remain silent and Ms. Reshma Advani executed the deal on national television on the investor’s behalf.