Chris Folayan is the Founder and CEO of MallforAfrica (branded as one word). MallforAfrica is the solution to a problem many African shoppers confronted when they tried ordering items from various international online stores. Online retailers based in the United States and United Kingdom wouldn’t deliver their products to African countries, forcing shoppers to wait until they traveled across waters and could purchase their desired items. Lugging all of their goods back was a tiring nuisance, as one can imagine, which prompted Chris Folayan’s brilliant idea to create an e-commerce shopping destination. MallforAfrica now serves as a middle man between African consumers and U.S. and U.K. retailers. The e-commerce platform launched first in Nigeria and is expected to soon expand. We caught up with the Founder and CEO, and San Jose State University marketing grad, to talk his million dollar idea, how its strengthening Nigeria’s economy and more.
What inspired MallforAfrica?
MallforAfrica was inspired by the Nigerians I knew, and didn’t know, who requested a laundry list of U.S. items whenever they caught wind of my travels to Nigeria. By fulfilling these “wish lists,” I found myself carrying the maximum amount of bags filled to the brim with products. When the lists I received became too long for me to fulfill, I knew something had to change. These Nigerians knew the U.S. and U.K. brands they liked, they knew the stores they wanted to purchase the goods from, and they were highly educated about the products they wanted. The problem was they were unable to purchase these items directly from the e-commerce sites because the stores didn’t ship to any country in Africa. As they say in business, “when you find a need, you find a business,” so with knowledge of the need, MallforAfrica was born. Now people in Nigeria and other parts of Africa can purchase items directly from U.S. and U.K. sites using our platform.
MallforAfrica greatly benefits U.S. and U.K. businesses who are now able to sell their merchandise in Nigeria, but does it strengthen Nigeria’s economy too?
MallforAfrica strengthens the Nigerian economy by providing resources, products and commodities that change lives, create jobs and improve education. Not too long ago, a lady purchased a sewing machine on our platform and started a business. The simple act of being able to purchase a specific kind of sewing machine provided her with the opportunity to start a sewing business. Schools have used our platform to obtain educational materials they would have otherwise not been able to purchase. Doctors have purchased medical devices to better diagnose and treat patients. MallforAfrica is strengthening Nigeria’s economy, one female entrepreneur, one school, one business and one doctor at a time.
Even though MallforAfrica is an online platform, does it create any jobs for people in Nigeria? Does it create e-commerce opportunities for African businesses?
MallforAfrica employs over 60 Nigerians full-time, and with plans for expansion to other countries, that number will grow significantly. We are one of the building blocks helping the Nigerian economy grow by employing Nigerians and providing an opportunity for new and existing businesses to grow and expand. We supply computers for educational centers and books to schools to better educate the next generation. MallforAfrica has impacted many sectors of the economy and we are very proud to be part of the improvement process by giving Nigerians and Africans access to items they can afford, want and need.
Keep reading to see how the middle man site generates its million dollar revenue.