Observer is putting the spotlight on inspirational women this March in celebration of Women’s History Month

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Smashing it: Entrepreneur Nikisha Walter keeps her eggs in multiple baskets  

By Kenicia Francis

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Entrepreneur Nikisha Walter, who started a diverse range of businesses from the ground up, has a message for the young girls observing Women’s History Month. 

Nikisha, from Cobbs Cross and Cassada Gardens, has her hands full as the owner of KIE Antigua Enterprise, a group encompassing arts and crafts, brokerage and business solutions, and a homemade hummus delivery business.

“Tap into your divine femininity,” she advised women. “Don’t compete with men. If we try to move with masculine energy, we’re going to clash.”

She also shared her background as a caution.

“I’ve been working since I was 12, but didn’t start my own business until I was 35. If I knew then what I know now, I would have started earlier and invested differently,” she told Observer.

Nikisha got her first experience of the corporate world as a child helping out at her father’s store, Walt’s Supermarket on Old Parham Road. She later double majored in small business and entrepreneurship as well as marketing in Canada when she was 19.

Nikisha worked for various private companies including First Choice and CostPro before branching out on her own. 

Now, she describes herself as “a kind of different person”.

“My place is to be on my own because I don’t tolerate certain things. I won’t be disrespectful but I don’t compromise, and to my own downfall sometimes I always have to be honest,” she explained.

It was that ethos that led to her leaving CostPro, which in turn kick-started her entrepreneurial journey.

“I was working for CostPro as an assistant floor manager, was switched to Office and Logistics Manager, then was put over the shipments,” Nikisha recalled. 

That switch gave her exposure and experience in the field of being a customs broker. 

After she left, a yacht company hired her as their broker, so she launched her own customs brokerage company. 

“The circumstances just led me. Everything happened so naturally I felt like this was my purpose,” she stated. 

During her time at CostPro, the body jewellery she made for herself so impressed her coworkers they pushed her to start selling it.

Nikisha’s jewellery was initially promoted by word of mouth, but as she grew, she created an Instagram page to showcase her expanding collection. 

That social media platform boosted the profile and popularity of her new arts and craft business. 

Due to her experience of hosting events while president of a Caribbean society at her university, once her businesses became lucrative, she started the Veggie Roots and Culture Fest. 

Nikisha chose the Barnes Hill Reservoir as the venue due to its beauty. Along with various vendors and local entertainers, the event offered a bounce castle and face painting for children.

The success of the first festival inspired her to create themes for the second and third based on Antiguan heritage and self-sustainability.

She explained, “We really need to acknowledge our ancestry because our culture is shifting as we adopt other cultures without fully embracing our own.

“We need to learn how to exist outside of the system. We need to learn how to sustain ourselves during challenging times.

 “I had these vendors and presenters on board to show us how we can preserve our natural resources, take better care of our environment and ourselves.”

One of Nikisha’s most popular businesses is her healthy homemade hummus, which she makes and delivers herself. 

After sharing her product with her friends and family, one of her cousins went out and bought her a food processor, insisting she could really be successful selling it.

Today, The Cork & Basket stores in English Harbour and Cedar Grove both carry her hummus. 

Asked for any final words of advice for young entrepreneurs just starting out, Nikisha added, “Diversify your portfolio. I have my eggs in different baskets because if you have all of them in one and it drops, you’re done.”

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