Damilare Akinbola – ‘I hawked so I could provide help’.

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Founder of Wexpro, Damilare Akinbola.
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Damilare Akinbola is a native of Ibadan, second born of the family (3 boys). He was born into a Christian home, attended Eyitayo Nur/Pri before he was transferred to IMG primary school, Agodi Gate Ibadan. He got admitted in Secondary school “Lagelu Grammar School” at an early age. He’s a B.Tech graduate of Biological science at Federal University Of Technology, Akure. Presently the Team lead at Wexpro Event media and Creative director at D-Art brand. The brand expert Damilare Akinbola features as our Entrepreneur of the Week.

What are those things that interested you as a child while growing up that must have shaped your mentality into becoming the adult you are today?

I love helping friends and family out in every way I could , when my friends are into other things like sport and all, I always go for other things like Omo detergent dance contest. I learnt the use of Computer early , I hawk fried soya bean, Limes , sachet water (even thou my mum and dad didn’t send me). I went to the extent of polishing shoes for people on Fridays at mosque “just to always get things done to have a thing of myself”… I ventured into music production, song writing then later learnt the art of talent and event management for a few years.

At what point did you begin to realize you wanted to do business?

To be honest I realized I’ll like to have my personal business when I was in 200 level. I had idea of graphical art but I didn’t really know much and I didn’t know how to start, so I learnt graphic design from a senior colleague “Herifourz” … this basic graphic design open my eye to business world as he’s also into other businesses that we often talked about.

What was your very first business as a child before you eventually got established?

My first business as a child was chicken breeding, I got few day-old chickens then rear them for few months, I sold them at very ridiculous prices, but I was happy at the end because it was a success. My parents were my first customer before neighbours showed interest.

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We all know family and friends play a major role in our self-establishment, who would you say has been a huge influence on your career?

At first, I will say my parent. My dad taught me the art of business; negotiation and customer satisfaction and my mum taught me the business versatility; business sustainability and diversity. Consciously and unconsciously they both planted the love of helping people through business in me.

Then my elder brother Akinbola Adewale, a chartered accountant and business book writer. I believe you can imagine how much I would have learnt from him, he loves agrobusiness and he has been rearing rabbit as far as I was 5 years old, we analyse different business sectors almost every day. 

I owe a very good friend of mine and senior colleague Seun Ajide (Creative director Herifourz) a very big thank you, he put me through the art of graphic design and business modelling. Also, my childhood friend Madaki Jubril. He always recommends me for job offer and introduce new business that we can both leverage on.

Why did you choose your business industry?

Excluding the fact that I have been in the industry for a while being a party planner assistant, Red carpet host, Party Mc and musical show planner, I really love arranging things to make event fun and memorable for event guest. Also, as a skilled graphic designer, I also like to create a very nice story for event and make it look superb…. The most important reason I chose event industry is because I love seeing people happy (celebration of life makes you forget your problems and this in turns give you energy to face the reality afterwards) which brought about Wexpro motto “Life is an Event, Make it memorable.”

Tell us about your company;

Wexpro Event Media is a sophisticated event branding company that beautify event arrival area with the glamourous Redcarpet and backdrops that represent the event theme elegancy and class. This comes with outstanding behind the scene coverage and engaging event games that makes your event memorable and fun. We also do event live streaming and event promotion.

The Second arm of Wexpro deals with event and life documentary, Media market research and Vox-pop.

Starting small is always the sole plan of every entrepreneur, how small did you start your business?

When I started , I coordinated event for free, anchored red-carpet interview for free for a while, then my first paid job was from a friend I met online. He was organizing an art exhibition and I reached out to him, told him what I could do to make the event memorable and beautiful… he paid for the materials and I branded the event with the help of friends and it was a success. Though it wasn’t profitable; the feed backs made me feel accomplished and kept me going… afterwards God has been faithful.

Have you been opportune to win grants or had access to loan? Just a little curious about your fast growth. How do you explain this?

I won a scholarship worth of 50,000 naira from BUSOLA DAKOLO at a submit organized by premier hub titled “WHY WORK FOR FREE” in Akure. I still believe in God for more bigger opportunities and when the time is right, he will make a way.

What has been your biggest challenge so far running the company?

Working with the top event planners in the industry, it takes perseverance and hard work to get to that level because there are many event vendors in the market. Once you aren’t a close relative or friends’ family, you’ll need to keep building your brand personally till you start working with top social and corporate event planners as vendors which will make your brand well known and open opportunity for you like recommendations.

Where do you envision your company in 5 years’ time;

In the next 5 years, Wexpro would have been one of the best Event media and event branding company in Africa, we would have helped up to five thousand less privileges (as one of our social responsibility is to help the less privilege)

What is your greatest achievement so far? Are there any awards to your name?

Biggest achievement is founding Wexpro Event media and working with the creative minds as team lead. I was awarded the most creative social director of the department (Biology department, FUTA). One of the best volunteers for a tech exhibition (AkureTechExpo).

For Wexpro Event Media, we are certified event management vendor, 24rentz academy certified, NPU EVENT academy certificate.

Do you have a mentor(s) or a role model? If yes, how has your mentor(s) been helpful

When I was in university, I had a junior lecturer as my mentor and he helped me realize the importance of additional skills with first degree

Tell us how your typical day looks like:

On a normal day once I Wake up, pray for few minutes, I’ll brush my teeth, take my bath then check my mail for any update, also check Wexpro platforms if we have any bookings. Get back to my PC and start design work. If it’s on workdays which are mostly Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, once I take my bath, put the call through to my team, converge at the venue, as our structure managers are on the branding I help out either with the BTS (behind the scene) setup or Live streaming. Night is for learning from various online platforms.

What motivates you?

Fear of failure, Poverty and my main mission “Reaching out to the people in needs.” If I don’t buckle up and make it happen with the God’s given gift and grace, I know the mission will not be achievable. So, with that, I have no option than to make things happen in order to make my immediate environment a better place.

P.S:  Damilare Akinbola is also a junior UI/UX designer and SME’s market researcher and strategist.

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