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The prominent home office and hotel appliance importer and global brand agent OMEDAD marked 25 years last week by celebrating with staff and customers. The company which was established with five professional entrepreneurs has also transferred its leadership to the next generation.
OMEDAD, Office, Machines, Electronics /Equipment, Domestic, Appliances, Distributors, was established in 1992.
“Most of us met in the business colleague when we were young,” Getamesay Degefu, the board vice-chairman of OMEDAD said. “But we started the company when most of us were around 50 with one million birr capital.”
The founding members talked about what they learned in college and working as employees as opposed to being entrepreneurs. Legesse Yirga, Abate Baye and Kinfemichael B.Selase are co-founders.
When launched, the company had no employees and the five shareholders worked at everything. However, now OMEDAD has around 600 employees with half a billion birr working capital. The company gave its employees a bonus of two month’s salary as a reward.
“We have employees who worked at the company for 25 years,” said Getamesay. “We benchmarked the top payers’ experience when we started when we didn’t have such resources and we facilitated ways for them to improve their career. Most of our leadership positions in our company are possessed by the employees who we accepted as entry level. Happy employees are a key to a success in our company,” added Getamesay.
The 12 floor business center and hotel in the Bole area are among the company’s achievements. Its transfer into a production company is now in the pipeline with an ongoing furniture company around Dukem area. Also, it is building a headquarters in the Nifas silk area, a conference center at Gerji and expanding its hotel & business center.
After the second generation took over the management three years ago the company has been performing even better, according to Kumela Gragne the board chairman.
“We believe they will hand over more than what we did to the third generation,” he said.
OMEDAD is celebrating the anniversary through charity work to give back to the society by supporting orphans until they finish school.
OMEDAD is known for its quality products supplies and its after-sales maintenance follow-ups. The company is a long time exclusive distribution agent for more than 1,000 products from Europe, the Middle-east, Africa, and Asia. PANASONIC, Olympia, RICOH UNICAL, OCEAN, and IGNIS are some of them.
“The nation is losing a significant amount of foreign currency from low-quality imports,” said Kumela. “Almost half of the imported materials are below the standard and that causes consumers to purchase them multiple times. We import long lasting materials.”
The company also faced a lack of finances during its initial days because there was only one commercial bank. That’s why the founding members justify their engagement in the founding of three private banks and one insurance company.
“Without a strong financial system, it will not be possible to create a strong private sector in general,” said Getamesay. “We get 95 percent of our finances to form these private banks now.”
The founding members said the past fiscal year, due to the foreign exchange crunch, it was tough but the current change gives them hope. They also told the media the unfair competition in the market was the biggest challenge for them.
The five founding members which all exceeded 75 years said that there were times which they disagreed on matters but the value of their relationship rather than money has made their journey smooth.
“We never vote for a decision instead we decided after a discussion we trust each other and we implement it with trust and love,” they revealed.
“That’s what we want to share for our fellow companies and emerging business to succeed in their partnerships.”
OMEDAD has 25 outlets, 8 in are the capital and the rest in the major commercial cities.