Fayo williams is the executive director of rely distributors. having qualified as a pharmacist in 1982, she went on to do her masters in pharmaceutics which was awarded in 1985. She is a qualified master trainer under the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This has enabled her teach young entrepreneurs what she has learned in the business world.
Working with top pharmaceuticals at different stages gave her the edge she needed to carve her niche in the business world. Read on.
By Anino Aganbi
TELL us about Rely
Rely supply ltd is a broad based pharmaceutical company. The idea was to carve a company where you would not be offering only retail like pharmaceuticals. I needed to have a broad base, this led me to choosing that name.
Generally, we are into health and safety supplies, we participate in tenders, we supply government agencies such as INEC, Ministry of Health, Lagos and Ogun State. We pride ourselves in being professional, having candour, spirit, integrity and as such, we make sure our pharmaceuticals have not less than one year expiry and have good quality. We have good network with a lot of the pharmaceutical companies and are able to get drugs to supply.
What prompted you into being a pharmacist?
I was very inquisitive growing up. I needed to know how the drugs you take work in the body so I took the appropriate steps to gain that knowledge.
First aid training
I also picked interest in safety. I have been involved in making a range of first aid boxes. In addition to offering first aid training, we stage occupational health and training regularly whereby we teach people what to do in an emergency.
In your line of business, you discover most people take their health for granted. In such instances, what do you preach?
You must live a lifestyle of moderation. This should he your philosophy. You don’t over work, neither do you play too hard that you forget yourself. There must be balance. This moderation must harness in every aspect of your life. When it comes to feeding, you must make the right choices which should be healthy choices. You should eat organic and healthy foods not necessarily indulging in processed foods at all times. Exercise your body. The body is like a machine. Most times people use their bodies and forget to maintain them. We preach behavioral changes especially in the way we consume alcohol. You should have a general practitioner your family uses. It’s unfortunate the kind of perception we have about health care.
The primary health care is the best for Nigeria where you have a health facility in your vicinity that you can easily turn to. There are different foods in Nigeria that can help to stay healthy like the African walnut, cooking with coconut oil, eating the avocado pear and lots of others. Generally, we need to seek for foods that have anti-oxidants so we can help our body stay healthy.
As a business woman, what has been your highest moment?
There has been a number of them and I believe the best is yet to come. I was able to deploy our rely range of first aid boxes on konga, an e-commerce platform and the very first sale was from kebbi state. It really thrilled me to know people out of town could be clamouring for our products. We have been able to make our mark in occupational health and safety. What thrills me is going to places that people wouldn’t believe and finding our first aid boxes. That makes me feel fulfilled that we have been able to create a product that fills the need for the average Nigerian. That is a comforting thought to me.
What aspect of safety are you involved in?
We are involved in occupational health and safety. That is the health of a worker at work. In this case, we talk about fitness to work. Is a worker in the correct frame physically and psychologically? Is that worker tuned to really perform the day’s assignment? You talk about health risk assessment; many endeavours have an inherent risk element in the work environment. Is the air safe for the workers? Is the noise level appropriate or will these workers suffer some sort of impairment with time?
What has your growth process been since inception?
Our growth process has been one that has been gradual. There is a whole lot more that can be said about us in terms of spread and offerings. We have been able to spread into consulting services, we have done projects for some international agencies. The growth of the organization has been one that is steady and we pray for greater growth in the future.
We have integrity issues at various points in the value chain and it is very disturbing. Growing up, integrity was a core value. We should value things not on the material sense of it but in a situation where our input counts, our thought process counts and our integrity counts for something.
People tend to blame the government for the fall of businesses. Do you agree with that?
The business environment is extremely challenging; the taxation system is not SME friendly. The purchasing policy does not favour made in Nigerian goods. We should not forget that the SME sector is a very important one. This is a sector where we need to encourage growth so they can embark on job creation pretty fast and help reduce the unpleasant demography of high unemployment figure. The policies need to be improved. If a business fails, it does not fail because of the government per se. It could probably fail because the entrepreneur does not have the skills required to manage the business.
We should also have that caution. When you run a business is not the time to take an endless holiday or resume business hours late. Running a business is serious business and I would advise entrepreneurs to take it as such.
You have to deploy so much funds to getting power. The unfortunate thing is there are a lot of energy sources around us but our generation of power has been a source of concern. If we have greater focus on getting that particular sector working, the sky is the limit for the Nigerian entrepreneur because we have a lot going for us in terms of the candour spirit and general drive. There is also the employability issue.