An Anambra entrepreneur, Chief Chukwubuzo Oraeto, who owns a global biscuit brand, Fadaella Biscuit, will be among the special people, organisation and brands to be honoured at the 3rd edition of the Anambra Man of the Year Award, scheduled for 1st July, 2023.
Chief Oraeto, who will receive award as the Businessman of the Year, is the chairman/CEO of Searite Group. The business tycoon has lived in China for over 22 years and has made success out of his business ventures by choosing the long haul of legitimate business over the shortcut of illicit ventures and it has paid off, making him a well-respected business leader in China with group of business interests spanning shipping and logistics, manufacturing and trading.
His Searite Group owns a lot of brands including Skinno doors and has ventured into biscuit production with some Chinese partners.
Chief Chukwubuzo Oraeto (Akuchukwu Abagana) spoke to newsmen about his exploits in the business world particularly how the idea of fadaella biscuit brand came to life. Excerpts:
Briefly tell us when and why you travelled to China?
I have actually travelled to China twice. My first visit to the country wasn’t fruitful, but I went back the second time. My quest to travel out was to pursue my dream and lift my people out of enduring poverty because I come from a very humble background.
What were you doing in Nigeria before you left for China?
I was an apprentice, but unfortunately by the time I completed serving my master, there was no money for the traditional settlement and to survive, I found myself doing a lot of things including selling motor parts wares in Abuja. When it was clear to me that Abuja wasn’t working, I came back to Onitsha and joined one of my uncles in medicine business, assisting him at his bridge head shop for almost two years. I did all these before going back to China. In China, I did a lot of menial jobs including assisting our people to pack their goods when they come for business in China and in doing that, a lot of people saw the honesty in me and developed trust. With time, they started transferring money so I could help them purchase goods with a view to sending down to Nigeria. That was how I started building up my capital.
With little Capital, what was your first line of business in China?
I started with fashion accessories; ladies bags, to be precise. In 2008, I moved into importation of some mineral resources from Nigeria to China and afterwards started dealing in shoes, wines, food items etc. I later went into logistics business and registered Searite Global Services ltd, a freight forwarding company which is doing very well. I also own a door brand called Skinno doors. They’re very quality brands of doors sold in different parts of Africa. I believe so much in quality and that is why I strive to make my brands stand out in any industry where I’m a player today. Apart from the businesses mentioned, I actually own chains of businesses across the globe and they’re successful. All my businesses are under Searite Group.
At what point did you conceive the idea of Fadella biscuit Brand?
My vision has always been to offer the best to the society in terms of quality business ideas, products and services. I have always wanted to establish something that will outlive me and after due research, I came up with Fadaella. Fadaella represents a combination of my children’s names. It’s a business I started with some Chinese partners. I started with the Nigerian market and they accepted its quality. Today, it is in over 30 countries of the world including Canada, UK, and America where they are doing well.
Besides the biscuit, are their other products in that name?
We have various products like chocolates and candy.
Do you have it in your plans to set up a production plant in Nigeria?
Yes. In fact if not for covid-19 with its challenges, the production of some of our brands would have commenced in Nigeria. In 2018, I came in with my foreign partners and we secured a site in Awka, Anambra State, but unfortunately, covid-19 thwarted our plans. However, I am looking forward to resuming work soonest and complete the project.
What challenges are you facing with your Brands in the Nigerian business environment?
The Nigerian market is porous, people always want to fake our products and this is not our experience in other countries. Other countries are more organized.
What qualities would you ascribe to be the secret of your business success?
I will say determination, humility, honesty, vision and the right work ethics.
How many employees do you have in your establishment today?
In conjunction with our partners in China, we employ over 700 people in our factory in China.
What advise do you give Nigerians moving abroad for greener pastures?
One should be able to draw a plan and make sure that his plan and mission corresponds with the particular country he/she is planning to relocate to. Once your plan is solid and by the grace of God, the person will succeed.
What do you think is the difference between doing Business in Nigeria and Abroad?
I think the environment plays a huge role and in most cases makes the difference. A businessman abroad is more organized because over there, things are well structured, unlike what is obtainable in Nigeria where law and order is a challenge.
About the Biscuit
Fadaella oatmilk is a healthy snack suitable for children and adults. It’s rich in fibre and comes in a pack of sixty pieces. It is one of the healthiest biscuits in the market currently and also suitable for vegetarians.
Fadaella oatmilk biscuit is good for diabetics and for children’s healthy growth. It can serve as snacks for school children as well as a welcome gift to friends and relatives.
According to Chief Oraeto, government can even choose the biscuit as one of their options for their school feeding programme considering its nutritional value.