There is a Setswana saying “go tsamaya ke go bona” loosely translated to”if you want to see new things, you can only achieve that through travel”.
This has been the case for Omar Bakali whose travel itinerary has not only introduced him to new friends but to business opportunities. Bakali was inspired to start his own business after benchmarking during his Southern Africa tour. During a travel to the region which opened his eyes, Bakali was in between temporary jobs and was tired of negotiating a new contract every year.
He sat down with Monitor Business, where he narrated how his life changed for the better three years ago after his road trip that included stops in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
“I was intrigued by how young Africans have thrived on their own with limited resources.
They have built competitive businesses which transcended beyond their country borders. Their mindset was to grow their ventures into conglomerates and become inspirational to the entire continent,” Bakali said.
The following year, Bakali started raising capital, and later managed to rent out a warehouse and employed an assistant. It was four months later when he started production.
“By that time we had not started production, but already the company had monthly overheads. We were more determined to push our products into the market,”
Bakali reveals they started selling construction solvent chemicals which he adds was one of the biggest mistakes they made.
“We sold it to hardwares, miscalculated the fluctuation of fuel prices and we made a massive loss. The product didn’t do well. It was this product that we thought it would boost us,” he recalls. Currently, Amoeba Chemicals distribute cleaning chemicals, construction solvents, brushware, plastic, hygiene products, and personal protective equipment.
The company’s biggest clients include the hospitality and retail industries as well as government.
“There are a lot of people trying out this type of business. Fortunately enough we are diverse. Our clients range from hospitality establishments to giant retailers,” he says.
In future, Bakali reveals they intend to become one of the biggest players in cleaning, hygiene and medical supplies and have plans already in place to attain this. The company employs six people, of whom two are women while the rest are men.
“The business was self funded through our investment in few projects. The concept was to manufacture and distribute chemicals and cleaning consumables including detergents, brush-ware, hygiene products, medical consumables and hygiene products,” Bakali concludes.