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Meet the Man that’s leading the battle to win the paints war

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How can one successfully serve as the Managing Director of a paint manufacturing company in a country like Nigeria? This is an important question which only a man like Peter Bababunmi Folikwe can answer. He is the current MD of Berger Paint Nigeria Plc, a company that is engaged in fierce competition with the likes of Cap Plc, Paints & Coatings Manufacturers Nigeria Plc, and Meyer Plc to mention a few. In light of said competition, the onus lies on the MD to devise means of ensuring steady revenue inflow and profitability.

How does Folikwe manage the affairs of his company? Does he even have the qualifications and professional experience to manage such a big company? For the answers to these questions and more, let’s get to know more about the man.

Folikwe’s educational background

Peter Bababunmi Folikwe graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in 1989 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he studied Marketing. He also has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Benin (1998).

Folikwe is an alumnus of Cranfield University, Bedford, as well as an alumnus of Lagos Business School. He is also a Member of the Nigeria Institute of Marketing, and a Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing.

His professional experience

Peter Bababunmi Folikwe is an experienced professional, particularly in the areas of marketing/sales, distribution, and management where his experience spans over twenty-four years. He has also worked in different companies across a wide range of sectors of the Nigerian economy, including FMCG, telecommunications, and manufacturing.

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According to information available on Folikwe’s LinkedIn page, some of the notable companies he has worked for, prior to his current position, include Vitafoam Nigeria Plc, UAC Foods Limited, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited etc. Below is a more detailed account of his career from 1991 to date:

  1. Vitafoam Nigeria Plc (1991 to 2001): He was a Sales Manager at Vitafoam for almost a decade, where he coordinated “the regional team for the implementation of regional sales strategies and achievement of sales targets.”
  2. MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (2001 to 2006): Folikwe was a Channel Manager at one of Nigeria’s leading telcos. Here, his job entailed the development and management of the company’s communication retail routes, including MTN Service Centres.
  3. Vitafoam Nigeria Plc (2006 to 2012): He returned to Vitafoam in July 2006 after leaving MTN. This time working in the capacity of a Sales Marketing Director.  Here, he was responsible for formulating and implementing marketing policies/strategies for the company and its subsidiaries. He was reporting directly to the Managing Director.
  4. UAC Foods Limited (2013 to 2015): Next, Folikwe was the General Manager, Sales and Distribution at UAC Foods Limited. Here, his job entailed supervising the sales and distribution of three product categories, as well as ensuring profitability, amongst other deliverables.
  5. Berger Paints Nigeria Plc (2015 to present): He became the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Berger Paints Nigeria Plc in April 2015. He has held the position since then. As expected, this is a very important position, which sees him managing about 250 employees across Nigeria, and implementing strategic policies, while reporting directly to the company’s Chairman.

Some of his achievements include “the successful outsourcing 16 of 17 Berger Paints Plc depots to Business Partners (entrepreneurs) and opened up Berger Paints Franchise outlets in seven (7) additional cities in Nigeria.” He claims that the scheme, among other things, helped to free inventory and reduce warehousing costs.

The company’s profit increased by 122% that year, standing at about ₦330 million by the end of 2015 as against ₦148.8 million in 2014. The company’s revenue, however, decreased by 2%, standing at ₦3,022,264,000 in 2015 as against ₦3,082,930,000 in 2014.

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Unfortunately, by 2016 the company’s revenue and profit declined by 14% and 32%, standing at ₦2.6 billion and ₦224 million, respectively.

Revenue further declined to ₦834 million in 2017, with profit standing at a faltering ₦70 million.

In conclusion, there is no disputing the fact that Folikwe is a very qualified professional with many years of corporate experience. But perhaps he needs to do more towards ensuring that his company’s profitability does not reduce.

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs. He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor. Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan. If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Profiles

Scaling in Nigeria’s fashion industry is tough work – Ugo Monye 

Ugo Monye takes us through his journey to becoming one of the most popular fashion brands in Nigeria.

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Scaling in Nigeria’s fashion industry is tough work – Ugo Monye 

With the large number of business names being registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on a monthly basis, it is easy to assume that starting and scaling a business in Nigeria is a piece of cake. In reality, however, it is a completely different story.

Even after surviving the first few years, scaling for expansion can be a hard nut to crack, particularly in an industry that is still unstructured.  

Ugochukwu MonyeFounder and Creative DirectorUgo Monye Fashion Company was a guest on the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, and shared some challenges of scaling in Nigeria’s fashion industry.  

READ: Konga CEO targets $10 million daily turnover by 2024

He observed that one challenge entrepreneurs have to face in the industry while trying to upscale is the shortage of manpower. 

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“No one wants to work for anybody. People don’t want to be part of another person’s success story, because everyone feels they can as well float whatever it is you are doing. This is part of the reasons the industry lacks structure, and still not fully developed, he noted 

Even when one employs a staff, they only work a short while before they start contemplating how to leave and replicate your businessIn my line of business, the result is many small fashion businesses with few (if any) outstanding brands.  

There is much room for specialization across the value chain, but people cannot specialize, because of the absence of a structure,” Ugo added.    

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READ: Embattled MTN pursues out-of-court settlement with CBN

Discovering Ugo Monye 

Ugo grew up with a mother who owned a fashion business, so he picked interest in fashion early enough.  However, he did not wish to pursue this line, as the realities at the time did not present the fashion industry as a mouth-watering alternative to other well-known professional lines.  

“At that time, there was no glory in being a tailor or a fine artist, he explained.  

His parents wanted him to read Fine and Applied Art in the UK, and hone his skills in Fine Arts, but he refused, opting instead for a course in Business Administration so that he could go into importation business upon graduation. Exposure and knowledge soon showed him that often, a person’s passion and calling had to cross paths.  

He started coming up with creative designs and clothing ideas, drawing inspiration from the things around him in the university.  

READ: Buying signal, Bitcoin whales with 1000 BTC or more continue to rise

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One holiday, Ugo went home and decided it was time to bring the ideas to reality. He linked up with a couple of tailors that worked with his mother, and using some of the old machines still available in the house, they brought the first Ugo Monye clothing designs to life.  

At that time, the business operated with the name CIUCI (a word which he derived from the initial letters of his five siblings), later changing to Ugo Modern Design, before he decided to just stick with his name, Ugo Monye 

He continued with his designs through his university daystill the end of his one-year mandatory service – NYSC, after which he got a job with a Strategic Consulting company. It only took a short while before Ugo realized that, as much as he was earning more than some of his peers at the time, there was no sense of fulfillment in what he did. He turned in his resignation and decided to go all-in on fashion designing. He attended a fashion school to hone his skills further.   

READ: How NNPC saved $3 billion from arbitration 

All hands on deck 

The fashion industry is not an easy place to start, and anyone starting out in the space must be ready to play all the required roles. In this industry, Ugo became a designer, tailor, marketer, brand promoter, and every possible role as he strove to get things rolling.  

“It is not just easy to get people to do these things, because the industry has not attained a structural level, where a person will decide right from school, that he wants to work as a designer with this company, as we see in other sectors, 

There is also the tendency for people to feel that they don’t have a serious job because they are tailors, and sometimes feel ashamed to identify as one. Things are gradually changing as people are beginning to identify with the industry, and this brings hope for more growth in the sector.  

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Monetizing a fashion company takes different forms, designing, clothes making, selling, and even consulting.  

Ugo says that as a brand, the Ugo Monye brand is more about details, “There has to be that touch of finesse in the finishing, and in fact, we pay more attention to the parts of the clothes that people do not see. This is what stands you out from others. 

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READ: Ripple unlocks 1,000,000,000 XRP

A dream still in the process 

Though Ugo Monye has become a brand to be reckoned with among celebrities and notable personalities in the last decade, Ugo says that his dreams for the brand are still yet to be actualised. He sees his brand becoming a force to be reckoned with in the coming years, a brand that every fashion enthusiast would want to be identified with as the industry takes shape.  

“I am not yet wowed by anything I have experienced so far. There are quite a lot of achievements I have made with the brand, but it is still not up to what I dreamed of. There’s no short cut to anywhere that is worth going to,” Ugo concluded. 

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Profiles

We started PiggyVest to digitize ‘wooden box’ saving method – Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder

Inspired by the local wooden box piggy bank, the idea for PiggyVest was birthed.

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The Financial Service sector has rapidly evolved in the last decade; with several viable startups springing up with innovations, most people never thought was possible. One of the notable startups, currently redefining the FinTech industry is PiggyVest. 

PiggyVest is the first online ‘savings and investment’ app in West Africa, with one mission to give everyone the power to better manage and grow their own finance 

For a company started by six young graduates, their success story is truly inspirational 

Today, Nairametrics profiles one of the brains behind this ethical startup company – Odunayo Eweniyi 

READ: Nine finalists to profer tech solutions to COVID-19 challenge 

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Early years 

Born in Oyo statethe 27-year-old Odunayo spent her early years invested in reading books. She excelled with ease in all subjects at her primary and secondary schools. A feat not surprising, as she is daughter to two professor parents. 

Odunayo recalls that even though she wished to study Medicine and Surgery, she did not consider herself empathetic enough to thrive in the profession. She went on to study Computer Engineering at the prestigious Covenant University, graduating top of her class in 2013. 

READ: New crypto gains 1,633% in four days, catches Ethereum creator’s eyes

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Finding her Co-Founders 

As an undergraduate, Odunayo had already taken an interest in Coding and Artificial Intelligence and expected to take further studies in it. However, this did not happen immediately, as she started with job-hunting after graduation.  

“The first thing that happened to me was that I went for a job interview, and I was asked to quote a salary and I did. When the offer would come back, the salary they offered was 80% lower than what I expected, so I rejected it, she recalled. 

Subsequently, she teamed up with a couple of friends from her university days, and they came up with the idea of PushCV. Recounting the decision to team up with them, Odunayo says,  

READ: Why Africans are fast using Bitcoin for payment transfers

We all were amazing engineers in schoolSomto once built a miniature airplane, so I was pretty confident that a joint venture with them would produce amazing results. 

The other team members were already working on a discount card startup called Parolz, and she joined them to work on this for some months, while simultaneously still jobhunting with Oluwafemiand Somto was working on something called CV Flash, to help people who couldn’t write CVs properly or did so with terrible English. 

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Odunayo became a Co-founder at CVFlash, helping to write the CVs for clients. She was also writing for TechCabalZikoko, and later worked as Editor of TechPoint AfricaAll of the income from these jobs kept her going, and was also being channeled into getting the startup off the ground.  

READ: CBN starts disbursement of N50 billion Covid-19 intervention fund

Soon enough, PushCV came to the forefront of their interests, when clients started requesting that they help them ‘push’ their CVs to employers. The friends decided to collapse Parolz, and concentrate their energies on the startup raving with the most attention from users 

To differentiate PushCV from others, they started pre-screening candidates, so that only the best candidates would be sent to employers. Their activities attracted attention, and by August 2014, they got their first investment from Olumide Soyombo’s Leadpath Nigeria – an office space in Yaba, and a cheque for $25,000 

READ: FG gives reasons for fuel subsidy removal, discloses alternative to kerosene

How Piggybank was conceived 

By the end of December 2015, the team came across a tweet from a lady, about how she had saved N365,000 by putting N1000 in a wooden piggy bank daily. They decided then, that finding a way to digitize the concept would help salary earners save towards their financial goals.  

They launched Piggybank.ng on the 7th of January 2016, as a ‘savings-only’ platform, and the fully tested version was ready for public use by April 2016. Gradually, the brand grew by user-recommendations and testimonialsThese free adverts were a testament to the team, that they were helping with a real need in our society. 

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Three years later, in April 2019, they rebranded to PiggyVestand started offering direct investment opportunities to users, allowing them to combine discipline plus flexibility to grow their savings and investments. 

Users can now use the Quarterly savings options, save towards financial targets, or lock funds away. They can also take advantage of investment opportunities on the platform. The company currently serves 350,000 users, helping them save and invest combine billions of Naira every month, that they would probably be tempted to badly spend.” 

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Not a roller-coaster experience 

About her several experiences as co-founder, Odunayo said 

“The journey was full of self-doubt, and it took a toll on my self-esteem. The first thing I learnt was that I had to be adaptable, people don’t give you money then use your own For the first two years of running the company, I had to work a side jobwith the entire proceeds invested into running the start-up. 

The team was made up of six-persons at start-up, although only three people are listed as Co-Founders – Odunayo Eweniyi, Joshua Chibueze, and Somto Ifezue. Each person on the team had their specialty and strength, so it was easy to assign responsibilities. There was no accountant in the team, so they managed their finances themselves, noting that there were months, when they could not even pay themselves. 

Further education, honours, and recognitions 

Odunayo got certified in Full Stack Web Development (Computer Software Engineering) in 2018, as well as an online certification from the Harvard Business SchoolOdunayo is also CISCO certified. The Oyo-born tech founder says that she has intentions of furthering her education. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is currently undergoing a Master degree in Finance (banking) at the SOAS University of London  

“I draw inspiration from my family. They believe in me so much, that it is hard for me not to believe in myself. she said in an interview 

In 2019, Odunayo Eweniyi was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 – Technology, and one of 30 Quartz Africa Innovators. In the same yearshe was named SME Entrepreneur of the Year West Africa, by The Asian Banker’s Wealth and Society, and is listed on Forbes Africa list of 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa 2019. 

She sits on boards like thAdvisory board of TrainFuture in Switzerland, the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative – a collaborative effort of Village Capital US, and the International Finance Corporation’s, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (IFC-WeFi). 

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Business Half Hour

The path to becoming a Chocolate giant is not ‘chocolatey’ – Femi Oyedipe, Loshes Chocolate

From trying out different ventures, Femi Oyedipe has found her success in chocolate making.

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In Nigeria, starting and running a business – any business, is no walk in the park, as countless entrepreneurs have failed repeatedly. Hence, starting and successfully scaling a business, is a feather only few can lay claim to.

Co-founder and CEO of Loshes Chocolate, Femi Oyedipe, was a guest on the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, where she shared her start-up story and succeeding in a field where she was entirely self-taught.

The graduate of Biochemistry from the premiere University of Ibadan, recalls that her decision to start producing chocolates locally meant that her office became her classroom. Her words described the satisfaction she has derived from this chosen path.

“The fun of trying out new recipes, making mistakes, learning and unlearning till you understand the best recipes is a huge reward,” she said.

The decision to start

Entrepreneurship is innate for her, since she always gravitated towards it. However, taking it as a full-time venture definitely seemed less attractive. So, she tried out other options, things she could do alongside a day job. She had a brief stint as a make-up artist, and then another in trading Ankara fabrics, before becoming a cake-maker.

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It was while making cakes, Femi picked interest in chocolates. As a caterer, she would use them in some cakes, sometimes breaking or melting ready-made chocolates.

“It did not make sense to me that we still had to import almost all the chocolates on the store shelf, even when we had cocoa locally available,” she recalled.

However, she was still hesitant to take the bull by the horn, until 2015.

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“I had my eye on a job I was going to start when I came back from the U.S in 2015, and it was supposed to take me on a totally different career path. When it didn’t come through, I was upset and disappointed. It was in the midst of this disappointment, that the inspiration to make chocolates came.”

It dawned on her that the major ingredient for chocolates – cocoa, was locally available in large quantities, and decided to challenge the norm of importing chocolates for consumption. From her house, in that same year, she started Loshes Chocolate. The single-origin, bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Nigeria.

Early challenges

Capital is key to any start-up venture, and it was no different for Loshes Chocolate. Femi pooled resources with her husband, and started by sourcing cocoa from local farmers, then processing it into chocolate for direct consumption, and for use by caterers and confectioners.

“The drive was ensuring that we retain the natural flavors and health benefits of cocoa, as against the usual mass-produced chocolates which have lots of additives. People are becoming more conscious of eating healthy foods, and we try to meet that need while producing chocolates that are still yummy,” she said.

Being domiciled in one of the largest cocoa-producing countries, availability of the major ingredient had taken care of a lot of problems except for electricity – a possible deal-breaker.

“It takes about 36 to 48 hours to grind the cocoa beans into powder, and you can imagine how much power that consumes,”

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“We needed some machines to get started and could not lay hands on them at the time, so my husband being an engineer helped to fabricate some of them. We got some parts from local markets in Lagos state, like Orile and put them together to make the machines we needed,” she explained.

Femi understood early on that, variety is the spice of life, so She spent time trying out new recipes, with family members and friends also serving as ‘guinea pigs’ for each new recipe. This served as a great source of feedback.

Later on, they needed to get the specialized machinery, and Femi recalled how fluctuations in Foreign Exchange, and the availability of manpower to maintain and service the machines posed a serious challenge.

Yet, she remains graceful in her advice to would-be entrepreneurs. “Just start where you can. In there, is where the innovation lies, because you do not have access to so much, and the business environment in Nigeria is not easy for SMEs. Instead of turning your back, you stay and become creative,”

Scaling up

With so many milestones attained, the company is not resting on its laurels. Loshes Chocolates still serves the local market at the moment, but there are plans to raise funds, scale-up, and start exporting. Femi is optimistic in the possibilities that abounds for her company, as is evident from her mantra, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

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