Ten years ago, at the Ngeme Filling Plant in Limbe, Cameroon, the first LPG cylinder was filled. We mark the 10th anniversary for Glocalgaz - whose main activity is to bottle and distribute LPG in the Cameroonian market.
This milestone has given rise to taking a look back to the company's history through the past decade, which has offered both ups and downs in making the company a success.
The purpose of Glocalgaz
Glocalgaz went into business in 2006 with some pretty admirable goals. Glocalgaz set out to eradicate the cooking difficulties faced by Cameroonians, who primarily use wood when preparing meals because of a shortage in gas in Cameroon. And as a consequence, they contribute to the harmful emission of CO2. Depending more on gas and less on wood would benefit safety for the end-user as well as the environment and help fight deforestation.
Setting up shop
To begin with - as with any new product paving its way into a market trying to steal shares - branding was key. Glocalgaz presented itself to the consumer market with a new technology, improved safety as well as new, striking cylinders. Furthermore, the immediate erecting of two depots in Limbe and Douala posed a serious threat to competitors in the initial stage of business. Being close to the customer is a key issue for Kosan Crisplant all around the globe. Three additional depots (Bamenda, Bafoussam and Kumba) were opened by the end of 2007, thus making Glocalgaz visible to and attracting more consumers, which has been the primary challenge. After expanding the reach of the depots, corporate sales were introduced.
Funding the project
Right from the beginning, the Glocalgaz project has received funds in order to exist and get the business started. Hence, the ownership was split between Kosan Crisplant (today known as MAKEEN Energy) and the IFU (Investment Fund for Developing Countries). Having resources injected into the company has been vital in offering the market everything the company set out to. For instance, presenting brand new, clean and safe cylinders simply entailed purchasing them, which is a considerable entry. However, because of the nature of the project and the location, justifying the need for funds hasn't been hard. Protecting the environment and the population as well as creating jobs in the region - from the initial 8 to the present 45 - is worth investing in.
Clearly, setting up shop has been full of ups and downs for Glocalgaz, not least several financial challenges to overcome. Making it past the first ten years, though, has given the Cameroon office a certain confidence that they are on the right track. With a rather unique set of values for the typical African company, a reason for being on the market and a persistence to fight beyond the typical five years most new companies last in the region, local consumers now believe in Glocalgaz. The initial scepticism was concurred as the availability and reliability of the cylinders were assured.