Sixty-two year old Comfort Odunayo Akinmeji is anything but a typical old lady and her life is anything but ordinary. A determined businesswoman who is resolute about succeeding in the face of challenging circumstances, Comfort has set up three businesses from scratch since 1999, after retiring as a secondary school teacher in Ajaokuta.
Flying against the face of all odds, Comfort has a passion for running businesses in the capital-intensive and high risk segment of production/manufacturing as against the prevailing practice of reselling.
Comfort retired in 1999 to establish her first business in Ajaokuta – a cold room business for the sale of frozen fish and meat – and ran it successfully for 6 years until she had to relocate to her home town of Okitipupa for family reasons, where she started a packaged/sachet water business.
As the packaged/sachet water business stabilised, Comfort set up a Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) extraction business in June 2013, leveraging on knowledge acquired on her father’s farm during her childhood. Currently, despite being the third largest producer of palm oil in the world after Indonesia & Malaysia, Nigeria remains a net importer of palm oil, and initiatives such as Comfort’s are the need of the hour. Moreover, with the Nigerian government’s plans of diversifying the economy and a possible full ban on the import of palm oil products, businesses such as Comfy Odunayo Enterprises are poised to play a key role in ensuring food security.
However, to fulfil its goals, the company needed funds to purchase a second expeller machine and increase its output. GroFin believed in Comfort and provided her a USD 149k loan over a 5 year tenor to meet the expansion needs of her business. Besides injecting long-term finance, GroFin also provided Comfort with business support to add a professional edge to her business, and to grow it sustainably over the long term.
“We counselled Comfort on the urgent need to employ a competent accountant. This will enable her to concentrate more on the managerial aspect, improve her record keeping abilities and better position the business for standard practices,” says Tope Adewuya, Investment Manager, GroFin Lagos.
Finally, the investment will positively impact the immediate community as direct employment by the company will increase from the current 5 to an estimated 12 employees.