Kuteyi marks 70th birthday amidst splendour, launches memoir 

The celebration began in pomp of splendid colours at The Event Centre, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos as the staff and management of Spectra Industries Limited, dignitaries from the public and private sectors, academia and the media honoured Durodola Omolewa Kuteyi, the Founder and Managing Director of the company with their presence on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Simply addressed as Duro Kuteyi, the celebrant, in his speech, referred to the well-attended event as 40 years of being an entrepreneur and the 30th anniversary of his company.

The glittering function witnessed the formal launch and presentation of Mr. Kuteyi’s memoir titled, One Way Ticket: My Uninterrupted Life Journey From Pot To Factory.

Describing his journey to the 7th floor as a mixed grill of the good, the bad and the ugly, the leading industrialist recalled the time he started frying plantain chips with a pot and burner to the present day where his company, Spectra Industries Limited has a world class factory churning out quality products that are globally competitive.

“The journey so far is what I have tried to summarize in my book, “From Pot To factory”. To the glory of God, from this mixed grill, we have been able to create a success story that has altered the competitive landscape of food processing and manufacturing in Nigeria. We have not only boldly stamped our name on the food processing and manufacturing industry in Nigeria, we are gradually building globally competitive brands that are attracting international recognition,” he said.

The indefatigable industrialist, however, noted that the success story which attracted people from all walks of life did not come so easy, considering the harsh business environment of Nigeria where SME operators are virtually left unprotected by the government, exposed to unfair competition from multinationals, frustrated by harsh financing terms by banks as well as multiple layers of taxation and other sundry charges at various tiers of government.

“I don’t want to bore you with the difficulties of running an SME in Nigeria. I have said a lot of that in the book we are launching today, which by the way gives a lot of insight on how to navigate through the labyrinth of the challenges of SMEs in Nigeria. This is to encourage us all that, as Nigerians, we have what it takes to make our country great. Amidst all of the challenges, Spectra Industries has still been able to survive and today, we have quality functional products such as Suco Cocoa Powder, Spectra (Pure Natural) Cocoa, Hyfiba, Fast O Meal, Sobake, some of which you have had the opportunity of tasting today. We also have new products that we are officially presenting to the world,” he said.

He reiterated Spectra’s commitment to processing and manufacturing quality food for Nigerian consumers to eat healthy so as to live a healthy life.

“That is why in Spectra Industries Ltd., our slogan is, ‘Home of Functional Foods’ and we are consistently researching how to provide Nigerians with quality and healthy food brands that are up to global standard and yet affordable,” he said.

In her review of the memoir, One Way Ticket: My Uninterrupted Life Journey From Pot To Factory, Professor Gloria Elemo, Former Director General of FIRO, noted that the author emphasized skills and values as necessary in shaping a successful SMEs sector.

“For the average person, the book promises a tale of how to be extraordinary in your ordinary average life through sheer determination, resilience, and doggedness,” she said.

The reviewer brilliantly pointed out that the author learned that problems do not usually disappear, they come packaged in another form and it is best to face them squarely.

“One would tend to pity his childhood story of a hard farm work dilemma either from his father’s home or school, however, the discipline of tilling the ground to the art of buying and selling being ingrained in him from childhood gave him a solid foundation,” she pointed out.

Encapsulating her review, Professor Elemo submitted that Mr. Kuteyi’s book is important and beneficial, especially to the Nigerian community.

“Dreams are often aborted; aspirations fall to the side when challenges come up. Many times, SMEs fail not just because of the lack of an enabling environment, but also because they do not have what it takes to stand firm, especially in terrain such as that in Nigeria. I, therefore, rate this book five over five and recommend it to all who require guidance for the SME journey, to those already jaded by the Nigerian factor, and to those who have no dream of being an SME but are perpetual life-learners,” she concluded.

Making a presentation on Funding Models for SMEs in Nigeria, Wale Fasanya, the Acting DG of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), advised young Nigerians aspiring to be entrepreneurs to take bold steps in starting small rather to wait for huge funds which may not really come.

“In SMEDAN, we will continue to push for the development of viable and sustainable funding models for SMEs. This can only happen with strong partnership with government, donors and the private sector,” Mr. Fasanya said.


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