Face2Face Africa | Gilles Tchianga is originally from Cameroon and went to Italy to pursue his first degree and postgraduate education in food processing. Afterward, he left Italy for Canada in search of better opportunities.
Canada did not exactly meet his expectations in terms of job opportunities when he first arrived. He struggled to find jobs related to his study background. He decided to register for a program at George Brown College to improve his English, but his prospect of getting a job did not get any better.
He subsequently started a bachelor’s degree program at the University of Ottawa that landed him a position as a science teacher for seven years in a public French secondary school, according to blogTO.
He transitioned into entrepreneurship after realizing how difficult it was to find African products to prepare the cuisine he was familiar with. This led to the creation of a ready-made cooking sauce he made for friends and family during visits, and they started calling him asking for more.
“I realized that every time I suffered from homesickness since I came to Canada, I couldn’t find a product that reminded me of my background in a single retail store,” Tchianga told blogTO. “Living in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, such as Toronto, it was clear to me that something has to be done.”
He launched Taltis Foods in 2017 with its signature product being Jollof sauce. Other products include hibiscus drinks and frozen African yams. He left his teaching job in 2018 to focus fully on his business.
“In our community, consumers have been showing tremendous support,” said Tchianga. “Many appreciate our easy and ready-to-use Taltis Jollof cooking sauce because it allows them to easily prepare various African foods in the comfort of their homes and save time.”
Tchianga recently appeared on Canada’s “Dragon’s Den,” which is similar to Shark Tank. The television show allows aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs to pitch for investments to a panel of venture capitalists willing to invest their own cash.
Tchianga wanted $60,000 for 10 percent of the company but after impressing the venture capitalists with his business, he got an investment deal with one of them, Wes Hall, who is the Executive Chairman and Founder of Kingsdale Advisors.
He offered him a lifetime offer of $600,000 in funding for his company, which consisted of $100,000 for 33 percent of the company and $500,000 as a loan.
“This is a great moment for me, since I came to Canada, I had been dreaming this, I had been dreaming [of] that day when I can have my own business and contribute to the diversity,” Tchianga told the investors.