By Fagbuyi, MD Jomaxcel Technology.
Engineer Omotayo Fagbuyi is a chemical and hygiene specialist. He attended Cleaning Institute, United Kingdom, where he obtained a professional certificate in Chemical and Hygiene Productions. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Jomaxcel Technology. Through his chemical and hygiene platform, Fagbuyi has been able to impart his world through job creation for Nigerians and introduction of exceptional industrial chemicals for the cleaning industry in Nigeria. In this interview he reveals how he has been able to get to the current level of his business.
Sir, how was the beginning of your business?
Jomaxcel is a dream company which I had in mind since my days in secondary school. The name is a combination of my name, my children and wife. I knew I was going to have a company that will be a solution provider to other companies. Presently we are solution providers to more than fifteen cleaning companies in Nigeria. I started in 2005 precisely. I was in Abuja at that time working with one cleaning firm, but before then I had the experience of how to produce chemicals and cleaning solvents. However, I needed more experience and that was why I went to Abuja to know the challenges those in the industry were going through. Before then, there was a particular company that was having challenges with their cleaning service. I was introduced to them by one General Manager of a cleaning service provider. I meet them and explained the problem they were having. I discovered I could handle it, so they gave me a go-ahead. Before then also, they had several companies that were handling their cleaning issues. I thank God I was able to handle their challenge and we are still together till today.
Could you describe your experience in the cleaning business so far?
My wife has being of immense assistance. She really helped me. She gave me the courage to keep keeping on. She told me I could do it and by the grace of God, I was able to sail through. Today I can produce different kinds of cleaning chemicals. It was not easy because there are so many people and companies that have made a name in the chemical production industry; however most producers produce for domestic use. It was really tough for an upcoming chemical producer to measure up and outrun the giants in the industry. Also, the fear of meeting up and maintaining international standard was a bigger challenge. Those challenges were what I addressed before launching into production.
With continuous research and hard work I discovered a chemical that is now a pride in Nigeria because it is produced only in Nigeria. It is a ceramic cleaner which I named Sun Shine Pride. I am from Ondo state and nurtured in Ondo in all aspects. I see the naming of the chemical as means of giving back what Ondo state has invested in me. The product cuts across all states. It was also displayed in South Africa Cleaning Exhibition for chemical specialists. I was happy because I achieved that through the grace of God.
I have met several entrepreneurs who started their business with very little capital, but were able to sustain the business to commendable heights. How did you go about financing your business when you started?
Yes, it is possible for people to tell you that. I went through the same experience of struggling with inadequate capital. I started my company in 2005 with N25.000. My first contract was about N140.000 and that became the first challenge. My salary then was just N9.000 and I had only N26.000 in my savings. So, we had to start putting money together in bits to be able to execute the contract. My brother gave me N50 thousand.
I executed the contract and was able to pay back borrowed funds. After refunding all the money I borrowed, I was left with only N60 thousand. Fortunately, I got another contract of about N200 thousand. I had to borrow another N100 thousand from my family and successfully executed the contract. The contract that really gave me a lee-way was the next one I got which was about N480 thousand that eventually became the contract that gave me some financial stability. I discussed with a friend on the probability of sharing the profit from the contract and he gave me N150 thousand. If you add that to what I already had on me I was able to raise about N300, 000. Even though it wasn’t up to what I needed to execute the contract, I was able to do so eventually on 50-50 profit ratio. Unfortunately, there was delay in payment and I had to pay the guy each month. At the end I realized I had even used part of my profit to pay off the guy.
After paying him off, I was left with about N160, 000. I got another contract of about N760, 000 which required huge capital outlay. The management of the company thought I had enough money to execute the contract, but I had to open up to the manager about my financial inadequacy. He gave me mobilisation fee of N200, 000 to add to what I had and I was able to do the contract. From then on our company has continued to blossom. At the moment we can execute any contract even if it is above N200 million.
What are your challenges in this business?
The major challenge is how to satisfy our customers. With my experience, it is hard to satisfy customers in this business, so you must work extra hard. They want you to produce what multi-nationals in chemical business are producing forgetting the fact that those companies have been operating for many years.Some of our customers will bring samples from abroad and tell us to produce the same thing. Notwithstanding, we have always picked up the challenge. The greatest challenge I had been in Port Harcourt. A company called and gave me a sample of imported chemical to produce. I had to tell them to give me more time; at the end we were able to produce something wonderful. Most of the chemicals we have in Nigeria are fake; for you to get something original you must work extra hard. You must be a very trustworthy supplier because if people lose trust in you, you will lose your entire customers.
Another basic challenge is the issue of government. I can’t forget the experience I had with the police when I was still new in the industry. They almost messed up the delivery we had for a client for no reason. Government should endeavour to finance private individuals. People have ideas and skill, but don’t have enough capital to execute such ideas. There should be an institute for research purposes. Most of what we import from abroad can be produced here if we have the required institute. The cost of importation is high; besides we can produce chemicals that are ideal for our climatic condition. Temperate climate is quite different from tropical climate. Our roads can be improved on to reduce transportation cost. This is very important.
What do you intend to achieve in the cleaning industry in future?
It is our desire to be able to create more employment for our youth through intensive training programmes in chemical technology. I have discovered that most people in the industry are not well-trained. We also intend to expand our operational scope from 37% to more than 50%. We intend to bring in more products that can fight different diseases prevailing in our society. We have discovered a disinfectant that can fight virus. Most of the cleaning chemicals we have in Nigeria only treat bacterial infection. What of virus that is becoming more rampant? People can contact HIV from using toilet but a lot of our people are ignorant about this. We came up with the virus disinfectant called Genocide. It protects the toilet for nine hours, but we advise users and our cleaners to apply it every hour. I also advise that every home and organization should use it for protection against HIV.