Nigerian entrepreneur paints it forward
Successful paint dealer now trains women to start their own businesses
My vision for the company is to become the leading coating company in the country and to create jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
Joseph Obiazi began his entrepreneurial journey as an amateur painter running a one-man, informal business. Today, Finehome Global Concept operates seven paint stores in four Nigerian cities and provides professional painting services for residential, industrial and commercial buildings. “My vision for the company is to become the leading coating company in the country and to create jobs for thousands of Nigerians,” Obiazi says.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), just over 80% of people employed in Nigeria work in the informal sector and as a result, are more likely to receive a low or unstable income. With the country’s official unemployment rate just above 23%, finding formal employment can be hard, but building a successful formalised business can be even more challenging.
Obiazi first applied to become the sole Nigerian distributor for American paint manufacturer Dunn Edwards in 2008. It took him six years to attain these distribution rights, but in 2014 he was finally able to resign from his job and start his own business. When he approached GroFin in 2015, Finehome only operated one store producing and selling paint in Port Harcourt. The business had the means to open another store in Abuja and financing from GroFin allowed it to expand to Lagos.
“The funding we received from GroFin has helped us to increase our stock and client base.”
With GroFin’s funding and support, Finehome has seen a phenomenal increase in its turnover last year. GroFin provided Finehome with additional funding to continue its expansion by opening yet another store in Uyo. “The funding we received from GroFin has helped us to increase our stock and client base,” says Obiazi.
While financing was pivotal in Finehome’s expansion, Obiazi also needed guidance and advice on managing a fast-expanding business. GroFin provided him with business support to put formalised management and operational structures in place as his business matured. GroFin also advised him to take a phased approached to his expansion by first adding one store in Uyo, instead of opening another two stores at the same time.
“The training programme brought out hidden talents inside me and helped me to harness my potential. Running my own business is a challenging and interesting experience. A lot of people depend on me for their livelihood and this has helped me to work harder.”
Finehome’s continuous growth has also allowed it to increase its full-time staff from 3 to near 30 people. The number of part-time workers it employs has also swelled from 12 to over 300 people. Obiazi’s own journey has come full circle as Finehome now helps female painters to start their own painting businesses through providing them training, supplier credit and start-up kits of painting equipment.
Lilian Azagba is one of two female painters trained by Finehome who now runs her own business. She is a former Finehome employee but opened an interior decoration business after taking part in the training programme. Azagba employs two permanent staff members and five part-time painters. She also hopes to assist others to start their own businesses and wants to become one of the best-known painters in Nigeria. “The training brought out hidden talents inside me and helped me to harness my potential,” she says.