COUNTRY: Liberia


Not very often do you find actual stories of grass to grace, Fomba Trawally started his now multimillion company now by hawking and selling things from a wheelbarrow while being a refugee in the Gambia when the civil war broke out in Liberia in 1989.


Fomba Trawally was born in 1971 to poor parents in Liberia. Growing up, he attended the Voinjama Public School in 1975 and subsequently the Kakata Islamic Training School in 1981. In a bid to successfully have a formal education, his mother, Kumba Beindu, toiled day and night to sell peppers and aubergines, so she could feed her children and try the little she could to pay for their education. His mother later died in the year 1980 and this was when her eldest son, Mr. Trawally, started his entrepreneurial journey by selling shower slippers in a wheelbarrow.

Then the civil war broke out in 1989, and Mr. Trawally and his family had to flee to the Gambia as refugees.



Fomba dreams of someday becoming a college graduate came crashing when his mother died sometime in the 1980s. Fomba Trawally, devastated and confused, had no choice but to drop out of school. Being the eldest son, he had to fend for the family by selling shower slippers in a wheelbarrow.

Another travail struck again, but this time it was a civil war, and he and his family had no choice but to flee Liberia for The Gambia as refugees in the year 1989.

After living and hustling in The Gambia for two years, Fomba Trawally returned to Liberia in the year 1991. He arrived in his home country with $200 he had partly saved and borrowed during his time in Liberia.

Upon his return, Fomba Trawally realized there was an urgent need for rubber flip-flops in the capital city, Monrovia, because a lot of people largely walked barefooted since the war had passed. Immediately, he capitalized on this business opportunity and started selling affordable flip-flops to the populace.

He used the $200 he had gotten to start a business called Kumba Beindu and Sons, which he named after his late mother who did everything she could to see her children have a better life before passing away.

In one year, his business grew exponentially from $200 to $3,000 dollars, which was a substantial sum at the time.

Fomba Trawally grew his revenues steadily, and by the year 2005, he had three retail stores in Liberia selling items like paper and cosmetics imported from various countries around the world like China, The United States, Turkey, and Ivory Coast.

When it was announced by a committed Liberian of the official opening of a US$$2.5 Million Toiletries Factory in 2013, the first of its kind by a single Liberian, many thought this initiative was been totally financed by a foreign-owned billionaire, but later did his critics got to know that it was the initiative of Mr. Fomba Trawally, a tropical Liberian business who has been in business for over three decades.

Today, Kumba Beindu and Sons has a factory called National Toiletries Incorporated, which is Liberia’s first paper and toiletry products manufacturing factory.

His factory supplies products to over 1,500 businesses within Liberia, exports to neighboring countries like Guinea and Sierra Leone, and rakes in an excess of $600,000 yearly in revenues.



Mr, Fomba Trawally hasn’t gotten any noticeable awards , However, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf delivering her state-of the nation address on January 27, 2014 at the Capitol Building, praised him for what she termed, “His steadfastness and unique entrepreneurial skills. “We applaud another successful Liberian businessman who CNN has recognized as the street vendor who turned US$200 into a potential multi-million-dollar business. His name is Mr. Fomba Trawally, founder and owner of National Toiletries Incorporated,” the ex-Liberian President said.



There are no public declarations of how much he mr Fomba is worth but it is estimated to be $ 1 million dollars – $ 5 million dollars


(Startuptips, CNN)