Dar es Salaam. Those who have known Ally Awadh as a billionaire may not easily tell that he actually started off from very humble beginnings.
The founder of Lake Oil Group, who was recently named the winner of the 2022 Young Business Leader of the Year by The African Leadership Magazine, developed the love for entrepreneurship at the age of 22.
He was speaking in London yesterday while receiving the Young Business Leader award of the 2022 Year for Africa.
In a statement availed to The Citizen yesterday, Mr Awadh told participants that it was his entrepreneurial spirit that saw him working at McDonald’s Restaurant in Canada while simultaneously studying for his Bachelor’s Degree course in that country.
When he returned home after completing his studies, he engaged in entrepreneurship by first selling Canada’s used vehicles in Tanzania.
Through that venture, he managed to raise capital which he then invested in setting up a branch to import repaired trucks from the UK.
“Not long I became a young millionaire at the age of 26. I was very happy when I went to the Tanzania Petroleum Bulk Procurement Agency (TPBPA) in order to get a petroleum import licence. I was able to do that because I already had an office,” said Mr Awadh as he gave his testimony.
He said he completed all the requirements and founded Lake Oil in 2006. “After that, everything is just part of the story,” he narrated.
The company, he said, has since diversified into other sectors, including in manufacturing. He has also expanded the company’s operations beyond Tanzania.
During the company’s growth journey, Mr Awadh faced a number of challenges.
“One of them is Cyclone Idai which hit Mozambique in 2019. On March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira, Mozambique, causing heavy rains, strong winds and resulting in flash flooding that killed hundreds of people and animals as well as massive destruction of property and crops.
“After nine months, there was a fire outbreak at Lake Oil Group depot in Kigamboni District, Dar es Salaam which caused a colossal loss. Ours is such a delicate sector that one can lose properties worth billions of shillings in a very short time,” he narrated.
The coming of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, taught him the need for patience in business. He said it was during that time that he learnt that even the most valuable assets could become worthless amidst a retarded demand.
“So the message that I’m sending here is that in life, you may pass through a number of challenges but what matters is that one should never lose hope. There is always a solution and there are always plans A or B and even C. I have learned never to fear of thinking and even getting out of the box,” said Mr Awadh.
The award which Mr Awadh bagged recognises a young African business leader, 40 years of age or below, whose outstanding business successes and verifiable business journey have made them role models and inspirational success stories in the marketplace.
He emerged the winner, defeating his three opponents including Sangu Delle, who is the chairman of Golden Palm Investments Corporation of Ghana.
His other opponents were Stephen Sembuya, chief executive officer of Pink Foods Industries of Uganda and Emmanuel Ademola Ayilara, chief executive oficer of LandWey Investment Limited of Nigeria.
The director of Lake Oil, which deals in the business of oil and gas, was presented with the award at the Hall of the House of Lords in London, England, one of the world’s most prestigious venues.
Besides that, Mr Awadh is described as a role model for young people, whereby, through his companies he has helped provide employment to youth groups while the success of the companies is seen as a good example for young people to run businesses productively.
Speaking shortly after receiving the award, Mr Awadh said it was a memory that he will never forget for the rest of his life.
“I was presented with the Young Business Leader award of the 2022 Year for Africa at the House of Lords in London. Apart from being a comfort to me, I am much happier to see this award has been won a young Tanzanian,” said Mr Awadh.
“I offer my sincere thanks to my mom and father for their endless prayers and blessings, my family, especially my wife, for all the time I have been away focusing on our business,” said Mr Awadh.
Mr Awadh also thanked the entire team of workers of Lake Oil companies in various parts of Africa, where his offices are located and ultimately to God for giving them the strength of working and achieving their goals.