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Meet Skalid Obi, entrepreneur building Nigeria’s largest energy distribution network

Skalid Obi is a specialist in business development and a pioneer cum entrepreneur with interdisciplinary experience and passion for expanding Nigeria’s energy distribution network.

He is a member of the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association with over six years of specialty in growing and managing a business in the oil and gas industry.

Skalid is the founder and chief executive officer of Cydene Energy Services – a business that manages the distribution of petroleum products across major African markets with a focus on retail.

He belongs to a class of entrepreneurs who are on a mission to do big and innovative things.

The vision to establish Cydene was conceived some years ago when Skalid identified it would be almost impossible for a company to efficiently distribute LPG across markets.

“More players were required to build an efficient network of distribution,” he says.

“My goal is to do everything leveraging innovation and that’s what we have managed to do so far with retail driven by innovation,” he further says.

Through technology, Cydene has ensured that African energy consumers control their energy needs right at their fingertips.

“We felt the need to create a flexible offering and service that allows consumers easily budget and plan their energy consumption,” he recurs.

“Imagine having a dedicated customer representative just one click away, like you have in banking, telecoms so we decided to help fill such gaps for domestic and large scale energy needs,” he notes.

The young entrepreneur started the business small in 2016 when global oil prices started tumbling and his initial start-up capital was gotten from the sale of his SUV at that time.

Since starting, the business has grown steadily as its customer base continues to increase owing to its timely delivery of contractual agreements and excellent services.

“Our growth has been slow and steady since 2016. Right now, the bulk of our customers even pay before delivery,” he states.

Speaking about the Cydene Express (CEX) initiative, the young entrepreneur says it’s an aggressive programme to solve distribution issues within the country.

According to him, CEX manages a mobile algorithm that handles a network of trucks and sedans that offers cooking gas and diesel delivery services.

He notes that CEX is the first of its kind in the country as it is focused on boosting the distribution of LPG across markets.

He states that the initiative has helped in entry cost reduction for operators due to the structured, centralised, and easy access it provides via its mobile device.

“We’ve partnered with a couple of merchants to boost 3rd party products and services like locally manufactured cylinders and electrical bill payments,” he says.

He says the business plans to build up internally in the short run and scale across the Sub-Saharan African markets in the long run.

On strategy the business has adopted to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, he says the business has adopted a learner structure in terms of operations.

“We have adopted a leaner structure in terms of operations, from reducing overhead OPEX to ensuring employees’ comfort while working from home,” he says.

“We have realized through the pandemic that the work environment doesn’t always require a fire brigade approach, but instead a subtle and more effective way of creating lasting solutions and a more efficient environment,” he added.

On his advice to other young entrepreneurs, he says, “make your vision a shared vision. It is easier overcoming obstacles when you move with people with a similar end goal in mind.”

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