Fomba Trawally, a refugee who fled Liberia during the civil war stepped into the business arena when he noticed a need for shoes — something the displaced often left behind. With the $200 he saved up in his temporary home of Gambia, Trawally invested all of his money in rubber flip-flops when he returned home to Liberia in 1991, CNN reported. That business venture evolved into the ownership of multiple small retail shops and eventually his multi-million dollar toiletries manufacturing business.
“When the war took place, people had to be displaced from another point to another point. So in the process of that, they don’t take their shoes and they walk with their bare feet,” he told CNN, elaborating on the motivation behind his first venture.
“I figured out that the population is about four million,” Trawally said about opening a manufacturing factor. “Out of the four million, no one is producing paper. Everybody is going out to bring the paper to import. Even if two million buy from me by day, I feel that it’s something like we’ll grow the economy in this country.”