I have always loved colours, and do dabble with them endlessly, says Founder/ CEO of Bolat Paints & Chemicals, Omobolaji Rachel.
As she walks Bank & Entrepreneur Africa through her entrepreneurship journey, Rachel adds: “I displayed leadership and entrepreneurial qualities right from childhood, and so it was not surprising that, in 2018, I launched Bolat Paints & Chemicals”.
But it was not a walk in the park.
I knew what I wanted, I was passionate and driven, but I got inexplicably nervous at the thought of penetrating what was largely seen as a male-dominated and gender-restricted industry.
In lieu of fear, I decided I would (and rightly so) focus on the superior value that my range of paints offer, which would make them extremely competitive. As the popular saying goes: “A quality product sells itself.”
Shrugging off the nerves and surrounding noise, I pushed ahead.
Taking off turned out to be quite difficult. First, I tackled funding issues by leveraging every grant opportunity that was available! In 2019, I applied to the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme, and was selected. That changed my entire focus for a better understanding of running a sustainable business model. It gave me access to a networking community of over 10,000 TEF alumni across 54 African countries, and showcased Bolat Paints to an incredibly enormous audience.
However, in the teething stages, when my brand was introduced to prospective clients, they would look me over twice, in slight disbelief that a young lady was attempting to barge into a man’s territory, and actually expect to gain a slice of the market.
But I was more than ready to introduce a game-changing and disruptive product into the paint industry – an original, refined formula that would positively alter user experience. Bolat Paints offer extraordinary value, for these many reasons:
High viscosity (thickness), which elaborately covers surfaces with richness, and ensures that a little paint goes a long way
Resistant to friction, scratching and wiping, which makes our brand far more durable
Protects surfaces against chemical and environmental hazards such as acid-rain, and excessive sun exposure
Repellant against bugs and insects for up to three months post-application
My vision is to create more employment and consumer value by building a successful, globally recognised paint brand that will have a 35 per cent local market share, while manufacturing over 5 million litres of paint per annum. Colour is an art, and I also look forward to developing brand extensions, such as a painting academy and a colours app.
Omobolaji Rachel is a 2019 Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) alumna, and has won other grants and awards, including Nigeria’s Under25 Entrepreneur 2019, and Young Entrepreneur Eloy Award 2020. Having previously earned a second-class upper degree in Business Management, she is currently taking on a Masters at the University of Lagos (Nigeria)