Idea 6 of 52 - Ice cream truck

Guest Author (Mr Ebis is the Lead Business Consultant at Agape development Consultants)

  1. The Idea


Bring back our Ice cream vans. I remember while growing up, we were attracted to the sound of the Ice-cream van as it played some tunes through its speakers. For some reasons, they seem to have reduced or even disappeared in some places despite the fact that most cities in Nigeria are still warm (‘Hot’) almost all year round. Where did they go? What happened to them? If you have some answers feel free to comment.

We have ‘Coldstones’ but they are quite expensive and not mobile. They don’t come to where the market is. There are however men on bicycles selling fan-ice and other products. These are good sources of employment and could employ more people. If you can produce something that looks like this below at an affordable price in this hot Nigeria it is highly probable that you would be profitably in Business.

Idea 6 of 52 - Ice cream truck

  A friend pointed this out to me (through, that with the Heat in Nigeria, one would expect Ice cream to be one of the fastest selling products. That led me to presenting this as the 6th Business start-up idea in our series of 52 Business ideas for Nigeria. Remember the aim of this is to inspire and encourage more people to explore and create new businesses that could help with employment creation and revenue generation. 

  • To start this you may not need to buy your own Van, rather you could rent one, or partner with a van owner and agree on payment or revenue sharing formula.
  • If a Van is to expensive, you can try a small vehicle and design your space the way you want.
  • Get the equipment you would need and raw materials.
  • Be sure to do proper research and costing before beginning so you can fix your price appropriately to get good profit margin.
  • Scout for the best locations where you could have most sales, e.g. schools, markets, churches (Sunday afternoon after church), etc.
  • Know the legal requirements and pay the registration and taxes.
  • Hygiene Certification – Ensure the place you prepare your Ice cream is very clean.

The idea is to do what you a can at the level or scale you can conveniently afford and manage. Add colour to what you do, make it different, and standout. Work on having a strong competitive advantage.

Making Custard-Based Ice Cream

  1. Mix your base. …

  2. Bring 1 cup of milk to a gentle simmer. …

  3. Stir the hot milk into the egg mixture. …

  4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat it. …

  5. Chill the custard. …

  6. Add 1 cup heavy cream and mix-ins. …

  7. Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker.

For more indepth details on how to make Ice-creams follow this link

2. The Market

It appears there is a market for this, as the people using bicycles to sell fan ice and other products seem to be selling, however remember to do your research before jumping at any business idea. These vans may be visible in some cities and almost non-existent in some others. Abuja, Kano and Kadunna as well as other northern states will be a good market to explore

3. The Business

Value Proposition: Joy and happy feeling that comes from having cold, tasty and yummy ice cream scoops in a hot day.

Customer Segment: Potential customers are kids, adults, everyone in the heat and thirsty, at schools, playgrounds, churches, inter-house competitions, wedding receptions, etc.

Distribution Channels:  Vans, or other vehicles that can serve as a mobile vendor for the Ice cream.

Customer Relationship: Direct

Key Activities: Selling, marketing, food processing (Ice cream), customer service etc.

Key Resources: Van, Workforce (driver, sales attendant, etc.)

Key Partners: The owners of the locations frequented, (event centres, schools, churches, mosques, Neighborhood Associations, etc.)

Cost Structure: Van rental, Staff pay Equipment and raw materials, Licenses and registration

Revenue Stream: Payments for Ice cream served

4. Competition

Knowing the customer segment you are selling to is key to knowing the competition that you are facing in order to sell to that customer group. The higher income class or those with more spending power would be comfortable paying for cold stones ice cream irrespective of the price. The lower income class are currently served by the ice cream vendors on bicycles. So you would need to understand how you would create your market and serve them in the view of the present reality. Choose your competitive strategy.

5. Risks

Doing business in Nigeria today is risky, as prices of raw materials and other things you use in your business operations could be affected unexpectedly. Be proactive and plan ahead in order to mitigate this. There are no clear barriers to entering this business so new competition could be expected and be prepared for


The sun is still not smiling, weather is hot, people get thirsty, take advantage of these by meeting their needs and even taking the product right where they are (mobile vehicle)

So until next week, Stay inspired…

For more information, comments or feedbacks, get in touch.

  • Twitter: @Mrebis
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