Home » General Politics, Headlines » I became a millionaire at 21 — Kolade, President/CEO, Fisolak Global Resources

I became a millionaire at 21 — Kolade, President/CEO, Fisolak Global Resources


She knew early in life what she wanted and vigorously pursued it. The charming President and CEO of Fisolak Global Resources reveals to NKARENYI UKONU the secrets to her ever growing business tentacles The first thing that strikes one on meeting her is her sheer humility and respect for both young and old, the haves and the have not. One can also see that she doesn’t wear these rare attributes as a cloak; rather, they ooze naturally from her. From being a relatively unknown person to the recipient of over 20 awards celebrating and recognising her as a force to reckon with in the business terrain, Toyin Kolade is slowly stamping her feet in the sands of time.

She had always known from childhood that she would not only end up being a business woman, as she had little or no patience for being an employee, but also knew that she would be a big player in the business sector.

“I had always known that I will make it in business and this further made me to be more focused in order to get to my desired height. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the greatness that I am destined to be,” she begins. “I have always faced my business until I was brought out of my shell for recognition. I have been operating quietly for a while, and I think God felt it was just the right time for me to be recognised.”

Asked what the numerous awards mean to her, she replies that they all mean one and the same thing. “They are simply celebrating my achievements. I didn’t give anybody money in exchange for the awards. They (givers) recognised my hard work. It is a sign of encouragement to spur me to do better and a challenge, because I have to continually prove that I am worthy of the awards that I have been given. I want people to see me and praise God. I want people to see me as their role model; I do not want to fail my generation.”

Presently causing a stir in the business world, her areas of core competence cut across pharmacy, manufacturing, furniture, oil and gas, imports, exports, clearing and forwarding, etc. She recalls that she has been into business for as long as she can remember. “My mother was a big time business woman who traded in soya beans, yam flour, beans, rice and corn in bags; and it was always with great delight that I helped her in her trading business while my mates did what children were expected to do – play.

“I learnt the ropes in business from her. I remember that I used to travel on her behalf up North to buy these things. With time, I started doing my own personal business, buying and selling and by the time I was 21, I had almost N5m in my bank account.”

Even though Kolade was already doing well in business, she, nevertheless, saw the utmost need for university education to enhance her business acumen. “I knew that to succeed and consolidate on one’s successes in life, university education was of utmost priority. You can’t stop at secondary school level, or else your level of interaction and operation will be seriously stunted.”

The Ilesa, Osun State indigene enrolled for a course in Logistics at the University of Ife, while also trading on the side. It was only a matter of time as she soon formally set up Fisolak Global Resources in 1996 at Apapa, where she has been operating from till date.

She reveals that God has been her staying power in a terrain where others easily crash out. “Anytime I want to take on a new business, I always take my business proposition to God in prayers. I won’t venture into anything I do not get assurance for from God and this has helped me greatly, as I don’t invest in any business that I won’t be successful in.

“I must confess that I learnt my lesson the hard way when I tried venturing into the sewing thread business. I brought in four container loads of sewing thread without clearance from God and ended up losing over $300,000. I also do a lot of research and feasibility studies on any business I want to venture into. I study the challenges that others encountered in the course of the business and see how I can manoeuvre and emerge better than my competitors.”

The oil and gas business is a shark infested terrain, mostly dominated by men. It thus becomes imperative to know how she has been able to weather the storm. She argues, however, that it isn’t different from other businesses. “There are women who are into it and they are all successful; so, why should mine be different? As I speak to you now, it is no longer dominated by men. The ratio is now 50/50 and that is because we women are doing better than the men; people rely more on women than the men because we are good business managers.”

Like most business people, Kolade is haunted by the perennial power failure that has left most businesses comatose. “Keeping a business afloat in Nigeria is no child’s play, what with the poor state of power. If only the government can make things right, things will be a lot easier for business owners. That is why you won’t see big brands in Nigeria because no business can survive without energy. That we have survived against all odds is a miracle on its own.”

Married to Kayode who is a prince, Kolade, who considers her greatest achievement to be her businesses, recalls that she met her husband in church over 20 years ago and that the feeling was mutual.

“It was love at first sight. He is a cool headed man who keeps me grounded and who is an asset to my various businesses with his invaluable inputs. He is also very supportive.”

A workaholic who is motivated by her aspiration to attain greater heights, she says she tries to make out time to unwind by staying indoors with her family. An ardent socialite – a phrase she strongly objects to – she maintains that attending parties and social functions are basically out of obligation to her colleagues and customers.

For the faint hearted who longs to do business but are unsure of making a success of it, Kolade, whose role model in business is Hajia Bola Shagaya, who she said is a successful business woman for refusing to mix business with politics, advises that one should be hard working, have the fear of God and pray before venturing into any business.


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Posted by on Mar 12 2011. Filed under General Politics, Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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