Adeola and Babajide: Entrepreneurs using digital channels to redefine business

As globalisation continues to take the centre stage, it has become imperative for businesses to leverage on new technologies in novel ways to grow their businesses.
Nigeria and Africa need more innovators, particularly when it comes to harnessing the power of technology to find solutions to key challenges.
In this regard, two young entrepreneurs are leveraging various digital channels to grow their businesses. They are:
Adeola Abdulrasheed
Adeola Abdulrasheed is the founder of Cameraman.ng, a start-up that connects users to professional photographers and videographers within their locality. He holds UI x UX certificate, which is given to qualified designers at the Graphics Design department of Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech). He is also a professional photographer.
Adeola was inspired to establish Cameraman.ng out of his love and passion for capturing memories. While still an undergraduate, he built D’AwareImages to capture existing memories in school. As a result of its success, he was inspired to venture into full-time photography.
“I started and successfully built D’AwareImages while still in school because I loved to capture memories and that developed my interest in photography,” he says.
After his tertiary education in 2016, Adeola picked up a job in photography. One year after, he established Cameraman.ng.
The graphics designer started his business with N200,000, an amount he raised from family and friends. After a few months of starting the business, he won €1,000 in the Co-Creation Hub Next Economy Acceleration Programme challenge.
The Yaba Tech graduate tells Start-Up-Digest that he used the money to further expand the business and develop its scope in the Nigerian photography market.
The young entrepreneur says that despite the large number of already established talents in the country’s photography business, Cameraman.ng has been able to create a niche market for itself by leveraging technology, stating that the business has continued to grow since starting.
“We outsmart our competitors by leveraging technology to deliver photography services with the fast automated booking system and affordable packages for all categories of customers, using reliable professional photographers and videographer,” the young entrepreneur says.
Speaking on how the platform connects users to photographers and videographers across the country with just a click, Adeola says that “Cameraman.ng instantly matches you with professional photographers and videographers with just a few clicks around your locality.”
“We have made the platform easy and affordable to users who are willing to capture and record every beautiful moment of their events,” he explains.
On how the photographers and videographers are selected by the organisation, the entrepreneur says, “For the photographers and videographers, we have a created a form that allows us to vet them and know who is fit for the platform because we have pledged to give our users the very best. We also invite them to a physical meeting to get a better knowledge of who they are and their personalities.”
Answering questions on the challenges confronting the business, he points out that funding remains the major challenge confronting the business, noting that a lot of youths with entrepreneurial skills are limited because of the absence of funds to see their ideas to fruition.
He adds that the country’s huge infrastructural gap is also another challenge facing his business, urging governments at the federal, state and local levels to provide key infrastructure such as power, good road network, good and affordable office spaces and forums for learning and collaboration especially for start-ups.
Adeola tells Start-Up-Digest that his business plans to “expand its solutions across the continent, as we are all about capturing irreplaceable moments, and of course, everyone has a day in their lives they want to capture forever, so we want to capture it for them at a great price.”
The photographer says he currently works with a team that has brought the business to its current position, among whom are Ademosu Adetutu, who has seven years’ experience in brand design; Abdulazeez with vast knowledge in technology, and Bosun Tijani, who is a mentor.
Speaking on his advice to other entrepreneurs, Adeola says, “Your mind is a soil, what you plant grows. So, always push yourself to the limit and you would realise you can still push further. Never stop. Keep on moving.”
Babajide Esho

Babajide Esho is the founder of Skoolkive, an online educational platform that helps schools automate and effectively manage their processes. The platform helps school administrators and parents to easily receive and make payments through a single channel.
The business, through its biometric features, also helps record students’ clock-in and clock-out, which can be sent to parents to enable them to effectively and efficiently monitor their children in secondary schools.
Jide was inspired to establish Skoolkive to help address some of the challenges in Nigeria’s educational system. He established the business in early 2017.
“The business was inspired by overstrained and out-dated schooling system in Nigeria and Africa at large. We believed that if we leveraged on technology, we could address some of the challenges evident in education in Nigeria, which included slow payment processes, and insecurity, among others,” he says.
Jide and his partners pooled funds from personal savings and secured a pre-seed funding from Procyon Group, which cumulatively amounted to over N2.5 million. This fund was used to set up the business.
The Actuarial Science undergraduate tells Start-Up Digest that the business has grown since starting over six months ago. He says that the business has experienced early adopters of its technology in parts of Lagos and has signed a partnership deal with the regional sections of National Associations of Proprietors of Private Schools.
“We also recently just graduated from the 2017 Next Economy Business Accelerator Programme by Co-CreationHub, which was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have also had advanced discussions with new investors ready to partner with us in scaling our technology considerably in other parts of Nigeria,” Jide discloses.
It has not all been rosy for the University of Lagos undergraduate’s Skoolkive start-up business, as access to relevant data has remained a key challenge confronting it.
“Access to the relevant data, which is critical to our business, was a very big challenge when we started. There wasn’t enough data we could access on key figures in education such as updated number of schools in Nigeria and number of student enrolments for the past five years among others,” the young entrepreneur says.
Jide wants the government to take more radical approach to data collation, emphasising the relevance of data in planning and decision-making. He also notes that such data should be made available in the public domain.
The young entrepreneur stresses that it is the various challenges in the education sector that has made the country lose over $4 billion estimated to be spent by Nigerians schooling aboard, adding that if the government had invested heavily to develop the sector, the estimated dollar spent would have helped in growing the Nigerian economy.
He, however, commends the government for its recent increase in budgetary allocation to education sector in the 2017 budget but adds that much more still has to be done.
The founder, who is also the CEO of thatbluebook, a digital media start-up, says that the online business has started growing within a short period of start-up owing to its strong value proposition that has helped it continue in business.
“Some of these propositions include our partnerships with financial technology companies which allow partner parents to access loans that will enable them pay school fees via salary deductions. This is an initiative we believe will keep us in business for a long time,” he discloses.
When asked his advice to other younger entrepreneurs, he says, “Understanding that you might fail many times before you eventually get it right, is one advice entrepreneurs need to always remember. I lost count of many things I failed at a particular project because I always kept on trying to build something amazing that people want.”
“You really do have to believe in yourself before anybody else will, because a lot of people will simple not understand what you are trying to do. I learnt that from my first successful start-up thatbluebook.com and I took this experience into creating another amazing solution,” he further states.
 
Josephine Okojie
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