Nothing Just Happens
In 2018, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria; a season of reflection, the first economic recession in two decades had battered business confidence in even the most stoic Entrepreneurs as myself and caused many businesses to go under; a young man Rotimi Oyewale, a visionary Agricpreneur who I had now known for many years since my return to Nigeria introduced me to a Coffee Brand which he was producing in partnership with some Rwandan Farmers.
He was working his heart out trying to introduce this product to the Nigerian market, but had good success only in the big prosperous business and political capital cities (Lagos and Abuja), and mostly in the five star hotels where most of the guests were foreign nationals or Nigerians visiting from abroad whose palates could instinctively recognize the magic in and distinctive flavours in these wonder beans.
As is my nature to support Startup entrepreneurs, I agreed to stock this brand of Coffee in our Retail Pharmacy, even though I knew 90% of our Clients in this City may never have seen any brand of Ground Coffee or Coffee Beans (as Instant Coffee is predominant form of coffee in Nigeria) and our Pharmacy was located in the North of Nigeria with a large percentage of the population living below the poverty line.
After about 4 weeks of stocking this Speciality Grade Coffee on our shelves, and having sold only one pack, I requested some paper filters from Mr. Oyewale and decided to buy a pack for my own consumption. I was astounded and ended up buying all the packs myself.
On my return to the UK in May 2019, it dawned on me that the Speciality Grade Coffee which had literally blown my tonsils back in Nigeria would be a winner in the UK Market. I got in touch with Mr. Oyewale and asked to be sent some sample packs.
On testing out these sample packs in the market the feedback we got was consistently mind blowing. As I worked as a locum in different Pharmacies within the NHS across several cities, I had the opportunity of giving these samples to a variety of people.
The honest feedback which I got was, "I have never had any Coffee so good ..., ... as rich in flavour, ... with a lovely after taste etc etc."
I personally was no expert on Coffee, but the feedback we got from Coffeephile after Coffeephile, and a couple of Coffeeholics convinced us that this was it.
Ukampala, a Company with a Vision to connect the Peoples and grow the Commonwealth of the nations of Africa and the United Kingdom was born.
Ukampala was incorporated with an African theme to support Entrepreneurship and growth of small businesses in Africa.
A journey into the future is sets sail.
A Missioner Extraordinaire
Our revolutionary brand of blood glucose monitors, EasyMax was launched in the Nigerian market in August 2013. With substantial human and material investment in unrelenting guerrilla marketing, EasyMax was accepted in the diabetes care market as the brand to beat with unique features not available in other brands.
We developed Diabetes Care Service products which we introduced to hospitals, endocrinologists, diabetes clinics in Teaching Hospitals, with a wholesale network across 28 of 36 States in Nigeria. By 2014 our EasyMax business was doing a monthly turnover of over £7,000. We had projected a monthly turnover of over £20,000 for the year 2016, when a new government was sworn in May 2015 after Federal elections.
The Nigerian economy collapsed. The country went into her first recession in a decade. This turn of events took the business community unprepared. For over 15 months S.M.E businesses like our fully dependent on foreign exchange could not source the minimum amount of foreign exchange to remain afloat. Almost all government hospitals did not receive monthly subventions from the government for months on end.
The pharmaceutical industry went into a tailspin, nearly collapsed. By November 2017 many of the small players in the pharmaceutical industry (like ours) had gone out of business. Only the big players with foreign subsidiaries/parent companies survived. The retail pharmacy arm of the business continues to run.
In August 2017, after some far-reaching research and analysis of the economy, we decided to divest into the Agric. Industry - Poultry business, as a means of conquering the prevailing economic recession. We incorporated Famagric Ltd and within 9-12 months we were the biggest processed broiler chicken and turkey meat farmers in the city of Ilorin, Kwara State.
Our Farm Fresh poultry products where been used by more than 70% of restaurants and hotels in the Ilorin/city metropolis.
We soon drew the attention of big multimillion-dollar poultry farms in the State (Kwara). One of them owned by foreign investors, saw the volumes we were doing in the capital city of Ilorin (a city they had ignored for years); decided to invest in a Mega cold room to hold large volumes of stock. The cold room was open for business in September 2018, and by the 1st of November 2019 all our clients were getting their suppliers from this company, which due to economies of scale were selling about 30% less than we could.
We shut down the farm November 2018, and by Jan 3rd, 2019 we learnt that the big cold room which had taken all our business from us had been shut down by the Company that owned it. They found out that the volume of the market in Ilorin city was not large enough to sustain a profitable large-scale operation with the costs involved in the city of Ilorin.
I played a major role in the establishment, developing and running of a Charity founded by a lifelong friend Prof. Mustapha M. Akanbi – MMGIVIT (www.mmgivit.org) as one of the pioneer directors. I was as expected assigned the responsibility of organizing the bi-annual health outreach to indigent communities.
I also took up the challenge of participating in grassroots politics by joining one of the new-generation ethically conscious political parties – Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN). In this period and before the Federal elections in February 2019 I rose to become the State Deputy Chairman, ANN Kwara State, Nigeria and was involved in all activities leading to our party national convention and presidential primaries.
Especially, with the BREXIT tornado swirling by. My Conservative Party Membership renewed – I am ready to tango.
On my return to the UK, my entrepreneurial journey naturally continues.
Ukampala is born, with Africa at her heart.
Adim Udeh, founder-C.E.O, Ukampala
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It is impossible to have achieved the above fits alone. In a war every Nation needs an army.
In 7 years that Famadix Healthcare Solutions and Famagric Ltd developed and built up varied operational and business skills in over 50 graduates and many more unskilled indispensable team members. I am proud and honoured to have lead a Team of individuals I often watched join us empty and over time become champions.
The Generals in our army to name but a few in no particular order are;
Adodo Ayodeji, Yesirat Funmi Apakala, Ojo Ifedayo Oladipo, Ishaku B Bashir, Funsho Fakuade, Joy Kanu Dickson, Garba Aminah Olawumi, Olawole Olaoye, Okewale Olugbenga, Zainab Gogoyintsu Abubakar, Pharm. Olatunji, Oluwashina Mathias, Adekanye Tolu, Victor Jonah, Margaret Patrick, Abdulwasiu Garba, Iyanuoluwa Ebenezer Adimula, Bashir Otu, Emmanuel Akani, Burga Joel, Pharm. Kemi Salami, Shared Ojoru, Pharm. Kamil Alebiosu Al Agoweey, Tijani Mustapha Ajuwon, Attah John Gabriel, Apuruku Michael, Emmanuel O. Alebiosu, Bunmi Sarumi, Joshua Daramola, Chibuike Umeokolo, Cynthia Abba, Medinat Oyewale, Michael Onwuatuegwu, Babalola Moses Ayotunde, Onyekachi Emenike, Ghaffar Oseni, Godswill Akpabio, Henry Okogbenin, Heston Osemudia Adogun, Ibrahim Bello, Ibrahim Shehu, Ibukun Aina, Lillian Rotimi, Chukwunonso, Michael Igwebuike, Pharm. Solomon Ogundele, Ojoru Babatunde Olalekan Adio, Olayemi Amoko, Osagie Obarogie, Pharm. Segun Adewumi, Pharm. Jide Adekoya, Abiodun Olayurola, Nuel Enweniwe etc
To all the above soldiers and many more not mentioned above, my heart goes out to you in gratitude. Even as you prosper in your current endeavors, I dare say that our mission together is not done.
We are Africa!
Let's Grow Our UK-Africa Commonwealth #Ukampala