Mputu Schmidt is the founder of Bondeko MB, Belgium. Bondeko MB, exclusive dealer of CONVERGENT GROUP SA, SIB, and ROADS products, assure high-end and quality products for the protection of floors and roads in Central Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, and West Africa. She was the former CEO of Convergent Group SA. Convergent produces hardeners and sealers based on lithium silicates for industrial concrete floors. Since 2008 Convergent took an important direction and decided to be ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and Emas certified. In addition of being Quality & Environment manager, Mputu’s main role was to organize Convergent Group’s participation to international construction shows. The aim was to create new partnerships and source new potential customers. Subsequently, her role was to establish and supervised strategies for the evolution and development of the company regarding management, operations and human and environmental dimensions. Her current goal is to grow her own company, strengthen it and ensure its sustainability in accordance with her vision and values. She is always monitoring and developing the business activity in a bid to protect and implement her strong human ethics.
Mputu speaks to Sunday Oyinloye, Publisher, Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable
Before you floated Bondeko MB, you were the CEO of Convergent Group; would you like to briefly share your experience working with the concrete technologies company?
It was the most challenging and rewarding experience on professional and human level. When I first started working with Convergent, I was at first, Sales & Exports Director and one of my aims was to find out and establish partnership with new potential distributors in the territories we were working with, which were Europe, Africa, Middle East, Australia, New- Zealand and India. It was usually done through all international’s construction trade fairs in those countries. I must confess that as a black woman, working in an industry mainly surrounded by men, coming from different countries, with different cultures and background was not an easy task. Nevertheless, it was the most rewarding task in terms of knowledge, exchange at the human, cultural and professional level. Then, as CEO, I had to learn to have an helicopter view of a company management, by always keeping in mind to have the necessary perspective in order that the strategy we had decided to implement, goes hand in hand with the objectives we had targeted, by keeping in mind that we needed the necessary resources; human, products, financial, materials, etc. to be able to realise the goal we had decided to achieve.
Why did you start Bondeko MB, and what are the guiding principles of your company?
I have decided to create Bondeko MB, because it was time for me to strike out on my own. Although it is scary to start your own company, it was time for me to take-off. Being of Congolese origin (DRC), I have chosen the name Bondeko, because Bondeko means “fraternity or family” in Lingala. It turns out that the products I have decided to distribute, although coming from different suppliers, have the particularity of being able to interact with each other, to be used together or not… as we have within its own family connection. Each individual is linked to every other family member by family ties. We interact together or not which is also the case with the products distributed by Bondeko MB. Although different, they are part of the same family of products and can interact with each other or not. MB is a little nod to my late adoptive mother, I owe her a lot and MB is an acronym formed from the initials of her nickname. Supplying environmentally responsive products for soils in various sectors of the building industry (industrials, residential, commercials and institutional) and rural roads in Africa is my guiding principle. I have at heart the development of the African continent in the construction and infrastructure sector, and I really would like to take part in this new period of economic growth and development in Africa.
You are an expert in soil and road protection, and preservation. Why is it that roads constructed in some African countries do not last?
A substantial portion of the rural roads in Sub-Saharan Africa are unpaved and see little traffic. The issue is that gravel or lateritic soils are used most often in the construction of rural roadways. Rural roads in general suffer from substantial deterioration caused by erosive processes, making them nearly impassable during the rainy season.
Which is the way out?
Become a partner of Bondeko MB.
What is unique about Bondeko MB?
Bondeko MB is the official retailer of high-end soil protection products & roads from Convergent Group SA, SIB and Roads in Central Africa, Austral Africa, East Africa and West Africa. Because of the use of a Lithium base in our composition, our densifiers and sealers for floorings are known for their efficiency and durability.
Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, what are you doing to penetrate the market?
Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Obinna Onowu has been in touch with us since last year. Furthermore, he made a visit to Convergent Group S.A. factory in Belgium. In addition, he provided us the chance to attend the Nigerian Belgium Luxembourg Business Forum and interact with Nigerian companies that later came to the factory. We are looking for a distributor in Nigeria and will also probably participate in some trade shows in the country .
What would you like to tell your potential customers in Africa?
If you are interested in being a distributor on the African continent do not hesitate to contact us.
Where do you want to see your company in the coming years?
I would like my business to grow and address the needs of the African continent. Beyond that, my objective is that at products-wise, I can source some raw materials (for example, aggregates and sand used in the composition of micro-cement products) directly from the continent, in order not to import them from Europe again. Moreover, I also hope to create a Floor Care Centre in Africa for the use, proper implementation and maintenance of different floors treated by Bondeko MB products. I am still looking for a perfect location to do this.
There is no doubt that you are a successful entrepreneur. What has been your guiding principle that has sustained you which the younger generation particularly African girl child can learn from?
My drive has always been to remain true to my three main values which are faith, simplicity and goodness. Above all, no matter what dream or project you have in life, even if it seems impossible at first, keep faith and stay focused on your goal, do not lose sight of it. Then, based on the situations you may face in life (whatever their complexity is), look for simple solutions, it is often in simplicity that we find solutions, which are simple to implement and achieve. Be solution oriented, and most importantly, do good and good will come back to you.