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Monday, January 12, 2015


The Story Of A Nigerian Entrepreneur Who Built a $10m Toy Company From A $100 Finance.

Paul Orajiaka is a 37-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur and is the founder of Auldon Limited which manufactures African-themed toys which depict, promote and teach Africa’s cultural heritage to children. Orajiaka grew up in Warri, Delta State, in Southern Nigeria, and did his secondary school education in Benin City, Edo State and he is currently studying for a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) at the Henley Business School of the University of Reading, United Kingdom, majority in entrepreneurship. He spoke with Forbes magazine on various issues of his business.

When asked how he started, he recalled that immediately after his secondary school education, his main ambition was to travel to the United States to make money, and not to venture into making toys. He was only 18 then, and along with his friends, he made countless unfruitful trips to the American embassy to get an American visa. His friends were given visas, except him. It made him dejected and ashamed of himself, and this made him remain  in Lagos so as not to be mocked by friends. While in Lagos,he stayed with his in-law who was a trader at Idumota. And that was when he enrolled for Accounting at the University of Lagos, and then Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Lagos Business School and Pan African University (PAN)

Orajiaka further stated that his small business thrived despite the challenges of funds and frustration. He also said  that he almost gave up when things became most difficult and there was no money to fund his business, but it made him persevere and more determined.
“I tell you, it would be unfair to blame or criticise some Nigerian entrepreneurs, who fail to surmount the numerous challenges, which stifle their growth. That said, I have come to realise that despite the myriad of challenges bedevilling them, which range from power, lack of funds, wickedly high bank interest, lack of infrastructure amongst others.An entrepreneur can still attain success, if he/she can recapture the passion and emotions of its beginning  and inculcate same in its staff,” he stressed.

He went into the Unity Doll project because of the painful fact that the nation’s cultural values was fading quickly, most parents do not teach their children about their culture and they let them cling to foreign cultures thereby robbing them of their identity as Nigerians. He noticed also that the toys in Nigeria have no social and cultural relevance to children. This made him take up the production of the Unity Girl Doll Project, representing Nigeria’s three major tribes and delivers social message to infants across the country and the world at large, enlightening them about the Nigerian culture, allowing them to have a sense of ownership early in life which puts them in good stead to making a positive impact when they are grown.

 Orajiaka founded the company 17 years ago at the age of 18 with less than $100 and now, it has annual revenue of more than $10 million.
Last year, Auldon launched the Unity Girl Dolls, a set of multi-cultural dolls clad in the traditional attires of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups. It has been a runaway success and a tremendous hit among Nigerian parents and their daughters. Apart from Nigeria, Auldon’s toys are now sought after in countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and some parts of Europe.
“For me my passion is educating them before time with positive Nigerian values and that’s why all the dolls have contents, which teach them all the positive stories and values they need to inculcate as they grow,” Orajiaka said.

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