Lake Oil Group, a multinational conglomerate that deals in a number of products is a successful venture that was founded by billionaire Ally Awadh in 2006 when he was only 27 years old.
Currently, Ally is regarded as one of the wealthiest people in Tanzania. His inspirational story began when he was one time reprimanded by his dad when he asked for extra ‘pocket money’.
At that time, Ally was pursuing an undergraduate degree in Canada. It was a rude shock for him given all his life he had been spoonfed and even attended some of the best schools in early days.
“My father basically got tired of me always calling him to ask for more money, so one day he bluntly told me on the phone that I was an adult, and if I wanted any money, I needed to start working for it. It was a reality check for me,” Ally told Forbes.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining and the dad’s response sounded as an alarm that awakened Ally from being an entitled young man to a go-getter. In fact, it was this Damascus moment that made him an enterprising juggernaut in just a few years later.
At first, he was employed at McDonald’s in Canada, something that he says imparted and improved his customer relations skills. He served clients after evening classes and was able to earn a few coins which he saved.
Immediately after graduating with a Business Administration degree from Brock University, Ally started exporting second hand clothes, popularly known as mitumba to his home country of Tanzania. On his first consignment, he doubled his fortunes and continued with the business until he made enough capital to diversify.
He then began importation of used trucks from UK and subsequently set up a milk processing plant which he sold. By mid 20’s Ally was already a millionaire in US dollars.
Aged 26, he decided to flex his muscles in the energy sector and presented himself to the Petroleum Bulk Procurement Agency (PBPA) in order to acquire a license for importation of refined fuel. One of the workers at the agency thought Ally was not serious considering his tender age.
“He could not believe that someone so young wanted to get involved in the bulk oil import business. But then he looked at our balance sheet and our track record in business, we clearly had the capacity to play in this business,” he said as captured by Forbes Africa.
The industrious entrepreneur was able to also acquire loans from local and international firms as he set up Lake Oil company in 2006. As he imported fuel, he also set up oil depots and petrol stations in rural areas of Tanzania.
Growing Tentacles and diversification
Since its inception, Lake Oil Group has grown footprints in virtually every country in East and Central Africa including Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique and DRC. It is a key player in downstream oil and gas sector, logistics and manufacturing and construction industries. Its headquarters are based in Kigamboni, Dar Es Salaam where they have an 85 million litre oil depot.
In Kenya, the firm acquired all fuel stations of Hashi Energy in 2017 following a greenlight from the Competition Authority of Kenya.
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Lake Oil Group has currently spread its tentacles into transportation through Lake Trans that currently has a fleet of 700 trucks to its name. The trucks mostly of Howo and Scania brands are monitored using GPS and have workshops along the transport corridors.
Through Lake Gas, the company is credited for popularisation of clean fuel especially in rural Tanzania. Lake Gas also has an estimated 30% share of the local market in Tanzania.
Additionally, the company has ventured into the construction industry and manufactures steel and premix concrete.
Ally owes his business successful to his direct contact and interviews with managers as he says much of companies’ success is through the employees.
The 41 year old is also a philanthropist and has been offering scholarship to students in Tanzania. He has also been building hospitals through the Lake Oil Foundation.