Safe and effective cleaning products are crucial for public health and have been increasingly essential in protecting the public during Ebola outbreaks and the Covid-19 pandemic. They are also important products for maintenance in many industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing and water-treatment, all of which require specialty chemical products for specific applications.
However, conventional industrial cleaning products pose a risk to local ecosystems, and, in the last decade, there has been growing consumer demand across Africa for sustainable and eco-friendly cleaning solutions. Many of these products sold in Africa are manufactured and imported from outside the continent, creating a major opportunity for the local production of greener, safer cleaning products for the African market.
Macjames Global is a cleaning product manufacturing company, specialising in the research, development and manufacturing of specialty chemicals that are exported across Africa. Founded in 2006, the company produces environmentally friendly multi-purpose cleaning products that address evolving consumer needs.
Over the years, Macjames has developed more than 60 eco-conscious products that are non-corrosive, non-acidic and produced using biodegradable raw materials, beginning with its first product, MMDC-11 – a multi-surface degreaser/cleaner. Macjames’ products are used by various sectors from oil and gas to agriculture and hospitality.
Macjames’ success lies in its ability to provide both customised and conventional products to fit customer needs. The multi-purpose products allow consumers to limit their spending on specialised chemicals for individual use, making the cleaning experience more efficient, and sustainable products more accessible. While the company has grown, its mission remains to provide effective cleaning products without compromising environmental safety .
Justin has been rapidly expanding Macjames since being shortlisted for the Africa Prize and has seen over 650% business growth in revenue since then. With crucial business development training from the programme, he found new ways to improve his business model that enabled Macjames to meet its mission of sustainability and safety, while addressing essential financial needs. For example, the programme training allowed Justin to learn important accounting skills, helping him to plan and forecast better for the company.
The Africa Prize also provided Macjames with the platform to market its products to a wider audience. Justin saw the Africa Prize alumni group as a vital medium in discussing challenges and opportunities with other entrepreneurs, and ultimately improved his confidence working with target industries. The Prize also facilitated his attendance to entrepreneurship programmes hosted in London, Nairobi and Uganda, further expanding his networks within the start-up community.
Developing local skills and capacity has always been a key part of Justin’s mission. Not only does Macjames manufacture its products locally, but it has also led training programmes for students, civil servants and entrepreneurs in Nigeria and beyond. One such programme, launched after an introduction to the President of the Nigerian Academy of Engineers by the Prize, saw more than 6,000 students at the Polytechnic in Osun State in Nigeria trained in product formulation. To date, Macjames has trained more than 12,500 candidates in countries like Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya and the Bahamas.
Macjames also played a key role in supporting local communities during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was a pivotal time for the company, both as a springboard to increase production and to protect public health. Macjames was awarded funding through the Royal Academy of Engineering’s project CARE (COVID Africa Rapid Entrepreneurs), an initiative to help SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises) in sub-Saharan Africa to help address COVID-19 related challenges. Macjames upscaled its hand sanitiser, disinfectant, liquid detergent and hand wash production by 500% and the products reached over 535,200 people in critical areas such as schools, hospitals, banks, and NGOs.
Justin has big plans for expanding his business across the continent. Macjames already reaches 20 states across Nigeria and has clientele in Ghana, South Africa and Botswana and aims to achieve more through new partnerships, networking and collaboration. Justin also maintains his commitment to creating accessible, effective and African-made eco-friendly products, and hopes by further expanding internationally, such as through the African Free Trade agreement, he can help to create a cleaner, greener future for all.