‘Work hard in silence and let success make the noise’ |24 January 2020
Once a pillar of the Seychelles’ economy, cinnamon is today considered as an invasive species as it can be seen all over the island nation. Warm, spicy and aromatic, it is one of the world’s most used spices renowned for its bark and used as an essential oil, medicine, in food and in beauty products.
Globarom, a subsidiary company under Bristol Enterprise, a local based manufacturer of essential oils and a major exporter of cinnamon bark spices in the Seychelles, is putting the plant to use by creating a global market for it under the supervision of its founder and chief executive, Mustafa Bristol.
The local businessman, who was just awarded ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce & Industry, sat down with Seychelles NATION to talk about his accomplishments and challenges in his two decades of business.
“Everything started in 2000 after I completed my university studies. A group of friends and I registered our first company D’Abondance Company PTY Limited. However it was short-lived, as some partners left us and now I ended up on my own. Which is why on August 18, 2010 on my birthday I registered Globarom enterprise and now it is a family-owned business,” said the CEO.
“In the beginning it was not an easy task as I was reviving three of the major industries which was the backbone of our economy back in the old days. We were working with cinnamon, coconut, essential oils and recently we have delved into the world of spa.”
He added that at the time when he first started his company Seychelles had a severe shortage of foreign exchange and he had to wait nine months to get a distillery that he had ordered from America.
“In this industry we face many challenges one of which is access to raw materials as we depend on local materials to put value addition on it. We also have to import all our packaging materials as it is not available here,” said Mr Bristol.
He added that access to finance is also a challenge especially to businesses that wants to grow.
“We have just recently submitted our dossier to Constant Capital, a firm based at Eden Island, for us to register our business on the Seychelles Stock Exchange, and this will allow us to raise the desired capital to grow our business,” said Mr Bristol.
The entrepreneur also noted that another challenge businesses face is branding which he has put a dossier forward encouraging Seychelles to assent to the Madrid protocol which protects trademarks.
Another challenge that Mr Bristol noted is the shipping cost where customers are paying ten times more for shipping than the actual item they purchase. He added that because of this, the company has to create distribution channels for their products which is very costly.
“In the manufacturing sector we also face challenges from imported products, we need to consider protection agent for local manufacturing sector because if we are producing products that are not selling then the company will lose income.”
Like many businesses in Seychelles tax is an issue especially the added import tax that has just been placed by the Seychelles Revenue Commission. Mr Bristol noted that the government needs to review this as it is detrimental to a business that imports items in order to manufacture its products.
Today Globarom is the first and only company in Seychelles that has been able to certify cinnamon bark and its essential oil as organic and that has provided it with a lucrative market in Germany.
The company also produces lemon grass tea, essential oil from eucalyptus, patchouli, spa products, potpourri and cinnamon charcoal.
The company has also started producing raw coconut oil for over a year now under a subsidiary brand called ‘Tropeko’ which Mr Bristol noted is producing one of the best virgin coconut oils on the market.
He also added that there are other products he wants to make very soon under the brand ‘Tropeko’.
After twenty years of hard work Mr Bristol was recognised at the 2019 SCCI award where he clinched Entrepreneur of the Year.
“To me the award represents years of hard work and the blood, sweat and tears that I have put into my business,” said Mr Bristol.
He added that he worked in silence and that he is happy that all his efforts was recognised as he was able to make everyone who supported him proud including his country as Globarom is producing international visibility for Seychelles.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank my mother for shaping me into the man I am today, my two kids, my friends, my team for their dedication, all the corporations who have worked with me over the years,” said Mr Bristol.
The accompanying photographs by Thomas Meriton show some of Mr Bristol’s products.