SPOTLIGHT: The Man Fomba Trawally – A Street Vendor Who Turned US$200 Into Multi-Million Dollars Business Venture

Mr. Fomba Trawally, Chief Executive Officer of Kumba Bendu & Sons
When it was announced by a committed Liberian of the official opening of a US$$2.5 Million Toiletries Factory in 2013, the first of its kind by a single Liberian, many thought this initiative was been totally financed by a foreign owned billionaire, but later did his critics got to know that it was the initiative of Mr. Fomba Trawally, a tropical Liberian business who has been in business for over three decades.
Mr. Fumba Trawally with the former Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
The multi-million United States Dollars Toiletries factor which has employed hundreds of Liberians is beautifully situated in Whein Town , few kilometers outside the Liberian Capital, Monrovia; the uniqueness of its location has overwhelmed Liberians, lauding the entrepreneurial efforts of this Liberian. ‘Fumba’ as he is affectionate call became one of the most prominent Liberian businessmen through hard work, perseverance and sincerity; he started his journey with a humble beginning. His source of inspiration comes from his mother Kumba Bendu who did not have any formal education and sold peppers as the only source to feed her children.
Some of the locally produced toiletries by Kumba Bendu & Sons
Lauding his mother’s effort in bringing him up to be where he is, Fumba speaking to journalists said his beloved mother played a significant role in his early life and taught him some hard lessons to survive the tough world, an achievements he has uprooted bringing brightness to his entire family. He said after his mother untimely demise, as a young man who was very serious of become a successful man, started earning livelihood by selling shower slippers on a wheelbarrow. In 1989, when the civil war broke out, he fled from his country to The Gambia as a refugee and when situation became under control he returned to his home country in 1992 and started his first company Kumba Bendu and Sons. This Company became a sole importer and distributor of beauty products including Cocoa Jennifer and Cocoa Shakira in Liberia, with his savings of $25 and $120 that he received from his Malian friend, today Mr. Trawally, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kumba Bendu & Sons Incorporated has now become a household name in Liberia. This company operates several businesses across Monrovia importing durable cosmetics and raw materials from different countries including US, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, China, and other places, according to him his invested in building a factory in Monrovia to start manufacturing soaps and other beauty care products for the Liberian market has been publicly admired by many of his peers in Liberia and outside the country. Due to his determination to becoming a successful Liberian businessman, Mr. Fomba Trawally was featured few years ago on the BBC’s African Dream, a program host several successful business tycoons from Africa aimed at sharing their journey on how they started off and made it big, on this program, Mr.  Trawally noted, “I believe you should believe that you can do whatever you wish with $100 or $500 or whatever you already have in your account. My mother started with only Five or 10 United States cents with which you can’t think of anything today, “ he bragged of his achievements. For his nationality role in seen Liberia to develop in par with other countries, Mr. Trawally was praised in 2014 by the ex-Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivering her state-of the nation address on January 27, 2014 at the Capitol Building, she further praised him for what she termed, “His steadfastness and unique entrepreneurial skills. “We applaud another successful Liberian businessman who CNN has recognized as the street vendor who turned US$200 into a potential multi-million-dollar business. His name is Mr. Fomba Trawally, founder and owner of National Toiletries Incorporated,” the ex-Liberian President said.

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About Cholo Brooks 17134 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.