[Interview] Jesse Onomiwo, Co-founder, Autosparkle, Nigeria
Autosparkle is part of Riltouche and Sparkles, a company dedicated to building the largest chain of the most eco-friendly cleaning solutions out of Africa through its specialisations in car care, aircraft, boats, homes, offices and cities. Africa Business Communities speaks with one of its founders, Jesse Onomiwo.
Could you tell us about Autosparkle?
My brother, Genesis Onomiwo, and I founded the company as Riltouche and Sparkles Ltd in 2018 to house a group of eco-friendly automotive detailing and car wash brands. Covering luxury vehicles, boats and aircraft, Autosparkle focuses on detailing interiors and engines, thorough stain removals, vacuuming, decontamination with steam, surface conditioning and protection, deodorization, polishing, and much more.
Our sub-brand, Autosparkle Prestige focuses on exterior detailing to restore car paintwork to a factory finish and protecting them from fading and minor scratches. This includes paint correction and enhancement, waxing, machine polishing, nano-ceramic and graphene coating, and paint protection film installation.
With headquarters in Lagos and an operating branch in Abuja, our team has traveled to provide our services in other parts of Nigeria like Kano and Ogun states.
What is your growth strategy for the short term?
Our growth strategy covers 5 key areas -
Revenue - We will increase this by introducing new service options and expanding our operations into new territories.
Marketing - We will multiply results by leveraging automated marketing and engaging in strategic brand-building activities like sponsorships, regular campaigns, and thought leadership.
Partnerships - We'll be partnering with relevant businesses to help us reach more clients, and jointly solve industry challenges while also using our own influence and resources to help our partners. IBM has about 254 alliances, General Motors 138, Philips 207, and Siemens 200- this says a lot about the power of alliances.
Innovations - We will formulate better and faster ways of doing things (method and style-wise) by adopting new ideas and service options.
CSR - Our CSR growth drive will border on drawing attention to and winning support for water-related issues through climate action and advocacy for climate change.
What are the long term ambitions you’re aiming for, as a service-oriented organization?
We want to dominate the used-car market segment in Nigeria with our services. According to a 2016 PwC report, there are 131 used cars for every new car on Nigerian roads—most of them imported.
We also have our eyes on the around eight million registered motorcycle market in Nigeria where we'll soon start providing our detailing services to private owners.
Given that Nigeria has one of the largest private jet markets in the world with owners said to be spending about N30 billion yearly on maintenance, we are already working towards commencing our private jet detailing service soon, while bolstering our already existing boat detailing arm.
In the long term, we'll have a presence in every major city in Africa, Europe, America, and Asia where there's a sizable luxury car, boat, and private jet ownership market that values proper maintenance.
We will become a global role-model brand.
How do you perceive the 2023 elections will impact local business and the economy, if at all?
The frenzy surrounding the 2023 elections has and will continue to place the economy on the back burner as all focus will now be on making preparations for new leadership. Only those businesses directly connected to making the elections happen, like the printing and advertising business, digital marketing (particularly influencers), and transportation, will continue to boom. Other sectors will remain in the backseat growth-wise.
Also, for local businesses, key decision-making activities will be stalled. For example, a lot of businesses will not be able to take decisions to expand their operations into new territories or markets due to the uncertainty surrounding the manner of conduct and eventual outcome of the elections. This will put business activities and revenue generation in slow motion.
This will also apply to the federal government which will begin to slow down spending on general infrastructure and project development, and also abandon plans.
What government policies can be implemented for companies to thrive in Nigeria?
Market-driven policies that will help to engender entrepreneurial growth, innovations that cut across market segments, and make it easy to do business in Nigeria will go a long way to help companies thrive.
Specifically, the government needs to implement policies that will help to:
- Ensure exchange rate alignment and also tackle forex shortage
- Provide power and fuel (through removal of subsidies) which will in turn help to cut down operating costs drastically
- Boost financial inclusion (fintech and more) at all levels
- Standardize and regulate the informal sector where over 80 percent of our population works
- Create Special Economic Zones (SEZs) with easy access for SMEs in terms of cost of participation and operation
- Curb inflation which negatively impacts consumers' spending power by squeezing household income
- Lower interest rates on loans while making the same easily available
- Eliminate all forms of bottlenecks relating to business registration, taxation, permits, and licenses
Which African countries do you predict will perform best economically in 2023?
Rwanda, Côte d'Ivoire and Benin.
Rwanda is a small but growing market. It has a resilient economy whose performance is sure to increase by making the country's industrial, agricultural, and services sectors more effective through proper fiscal consolidation, commercial agricultural reforms, and digitization of services.
Having been enjoying political and social stability since 2020, Côte d’Ivoire is well-positioned for the creation of wealth and jobs through meaningful investments in new areas, coupled with targeted expansion of the country's industrial base and modernization of agriculture. These will help to deliver the 7.1% projected GDP growth.
Benin has maintained a solid commitment to macroeconomic stability since 2016. With a stable democracy powered by a decentralized system of governance and a socio-political environment that is friendly and conducive to business, critical reforms and renewed and increased investment in infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and basic services, Benin is sure to outperform most other African countries.
How will Africa develop as a knowledge economy in 2023 and how can companies contribute?
Given how important Africa is on a global scale, there's no better time to effectively focus on mobilizing human and material resources for the development of a knowledge economy.
We can borrow a leaf from Germany where half of all youngsters in upper secondary school are in vocational training, and half of these are in apprenticeships. We can apply this model to our secondary and tertiary learning institutions.
Companies should provide hands-on training, graduate trainee programs, internships, financial aid (sponsorships), and scholarships to the teaming youth population of Africa.
At the end of the day, the goal of developing a knowledge economy should be to drive productivity across Africa.