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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Royal ToothPick - Amadin Ogbebor

We can either complain endlessly about how Nigeria is behind and in a recession or we can decide to tackle one problem at a time. 

I remember when I saw the list of items banned by the CBN from accessing forex for imports, toothpicks jumped at me! I was like what! How hard can making toothpicks be. Why o why must we just resort to importing everything and anything. While we were out discussing it though, some were working ... :-)

People like Amadin Ogbebor. Imagine my excitement when I saw a facebook post about someone manufacturing toothpicks. I hunted him down to hear this story (Okay, hunt is an exaggeration, lol) but hey, it makes the story sweeter... hehe.


Tell us about yourself

Amadin Ogbebor
My name is Amadin Ogbebor, I studied mechanical Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University. I have always enjoyed designing and building things.

When I was in secondary school I had a fan that the plug was always getting bad so I made a new one using nails, melted nylon bags and wires. Using a match box as the mould. I never had a plug problem with that fan again.

Tell us about your business 

I manufacture toothpicks from bamboo

How did you get funding for your business?

I got funding through personal savings and loan from the U.S. I am fortunate to have lived in the United States so I had access to some funds.

What opportunities have you been able to leverage on in your business so far?

I was able to network with some people that had one time done the business most of them were not helpful but I managed to get a few information here and there. But there is really no mentoring system that I could draw from and most people where looking out for themselves.

What was your inspiration for starting this business?

I had tried doing other businesses but I didn't really enjoy them, so I had to ask myself what do u really enjoy and I said making things so I decided to go into manufacturing. Initially I wanted to go into nail manufacturing then I heard the CBN Governor on radio saying we import all our toothpicks I decided it wasn't right so I researched the manufacturing process and decided to go into toothpick production instead.

What Challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able to overcome them?

My biggest problem was lack of funds, then the machines I got from China had problems which took me a few months to figure it out thanks to my mechanical engineering background. Then figuring out the process of manufacturing the toothpick. 

The first set I tried introducing into the market was rejected because of the quality so I went back to the drawing board and came out with an improved quality. Because I had mechanical problems with the machines it helped me understand the principles of the working of the machine that when I am going to expand manufacturing I intend to design and fabricate my machines here in Nigeria.

How will you summarize the journey so far?

The journey so far was mentally and physically challenging but I had a goal which I never took my eyes off no matter how much failures I encountered I kept celebrating the wins no matter how small.

Given the Chance, will you do this again?

Yes I will.

What lessons have you been able to learn from your journey so far that others should know?

Have a dream or vision but know that life will throw every obstacle your way but you should just keep going and you will be rewarded. Nothing good comes easy.

How can people connect with you?

Facebook -  Amadi Ogbebor 
Phone -   0909 863 4259

Made in Nigeria Toothpick