Turning passion into productivity is often easier said than done. However, in the life of Prudence Okoilu, the above statement has become a reality. Starting out by building websites from his hostel room in the University of Lagos, Nigeria, he has gone ahead to create multiple online platforms over the years.
He shared his business story with the Tony Elumelu Foundation team as well as his plans for the future.
Q: What’s the story behind your starting out in business and say a bit about your successes including awards and nominations?
A: I began building websites in my hostel while studying at the University of Lagos. I always had a passion for photography, and this inspired me to create a website called Hipingg. Hipingg was a photo sharing platform created for users to share pictures with friends and to post on various social media networks. It became popular on campus and gained over 200,000 users. The exposure I got from this platform enabled me to take part in a Business Plan Competition hosted by the University and sponsored by Stanbic-IBTC. I emerged the winner of the competition and this was a very pivotal point in my life.
After graduation, I went on to build mobile applications. I published two which are: Cliptext (a photo sharing app) and OneRadio (an Internet Radio streaming platform).
Q: Tell us about your business and the unique services and solutions you offer?
A: One Radio is a mobile platform for streaming local radio stations, playlists and podcasts from any geographical region. It was launched in October 2016 and provides the medium for on-the-go streaming of local radio stations irrespective of the location.
OneRadio solves real problems. At OneRadio, we focus on solving the problem of the inability to listen to local radio stations when out of the geographical area. For example, ideally, you cannot listen to CoolFM Abuja in Lagos or BeatFM Lagos in London, but on this platform, you can stream local radio stations anywhere you are in the world.
To help us with the creation of this app, we conducted a survey which showed that most radio listeners only listen in their cars and the only way to make people keep listening is if the platform is mobile. So OneRadio has been mobile-focused from day one and is currently available on the App Store and Google Play store.
Q: What is the vision of your business?
A: The vision is to build one of the top mobile Entertainment platforms from Nigeria for global use.
Q: What is the current scale of your business and how does your business help the community where it is located?
A: OneRadio is currently available on Google Play store and App store with the record of app downloads currently in thousands. The platform provides a solution to radio listeners by making local radio stations available for streaming on mobile phones for users in Nigeria, Nigerians in diaspora and foreigners interested in listening to local African content. We have three employees in the company so far.
Q: What challenges have you encountered since you started out your business?
A: Funding has been a major challenge affecting the progress of the work. This is because the basic tools needed to execute are not available or outdated. When there are funds readily available, these those tools can be put in place. It will also motivate and inspire us to break boundaries, explore ideas and possibilities.
Q: What were the key benefits you gained from the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme and how have they helped you grow your business?
A: The knowledge I gained from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is priceless and I still apply those lessons every day in business. The mentoring and training helped me understand market niche and consumer behaviour. Also, the seed capital was very a very crucial tool to move the business forward as it was through this support that I was able to fund the creation of Cliptext.
Q: How do you plan to expand and increase the capacity of your business?
A: We intend to do more target marketing, increase business operations, expand my business network and focus more on the mobile audience in the design and functionality of the app updates. There are also plans to explore wearables like the Apple Watch (the app is currently been built) and develop apps on new technologies.
To reach Prudence Okoilu, send an email to email@example.com.