Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Idara Otu
Olympian, Wall Street veteran, author and philanthropist Idara Otu is also adding entrepreneur to her list of accolades as the founder of NŌK CHOC, a premium vegan hot cocoa company that sources its ingredients from West Africa.
The New Yorker who was born into a traditional Nigerian family always put education was a top priority. “In our household, there was education first. If it [sports] was affiliated with school, I was able to participate as long as my studies didn’t suffer.” Otu ran track and field while in high school and studying at Stanford University. She qualified and represented Nigeria on the track and field team during the 2012 Olympics in London.
Otu continued to train as an athlete while starting her career that would take her to Wall Street in the finance arena. Entrepreneurship was always something that was in the background and in 2017, she began her legacy project, a charity called Let Girls Read, Run, Grow to focus on building up young African girls through athletics, education and entrepreneurship.
Her bigger mission is to build an all-girls primary school in her native state in Nigeria. When looking at the plan and also funding sources, especially those that are sustainable, Otu though of creating a commodity product that people would purchase whether it was tied to a cause or not. From there, NŌK CHOC was born.
The e-commerce brand is internationally branded with Nigerian culture. This part of her journey truly put entrepreneurship front and center with lessons to learn along the way. “But really building NŌK CHOC and this brand is just so personal to me because of the mission behind it, but 2, just being able to learn as we grow has been a wonderful journey that is only the beginning.”
Dark Milk Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Cookies ‘n’ Cream are the inaugural flavors that are available on the company website. With a full roll-out in the works, Otu shares more in this episode about how she plan to introduce NŌK CHOC to the world.