For many young people in Abuja, the road to success in the business world starts with you getting a big contract or a connection to a highly placed person in society. The so called Man know man syndrome where success or access to opportunities is seen as something that only happens when someone else in a privileged position opens the door and invites you to be part of their league.
Not so however for a young enterprising Nigerian Taopheek Babayeju the founder and CEO of several companies including Phone Clinic and iCentra and an entrepreneur who started doing business with little resources and who also believes in creating businesses that outlive their founders. He is one of those few individuals who make you realize that life offers equal opportunities to all – although some have them more equally.
Taopheek Babayeju as he puts it is “an artist locked up in the body of a physicist” he’s an excellent artist who draws and makes sculptures although he studied physics. He designs his own clothes by sketching his designs which he sends to designers to make his preferred designs for him, he also designs his own corporate logos, branding concepts etc.
This is besides the fact that he has a professional background as a project management consultant, training and equipping young Nigerian professionals with skills that will make them more employable and productive in addition to offering businesses in Abuja cost effective IT enterprise solutions through his company iCentra.
Call him dynamic, industrious or multi-faceted and you’ll be very correct as Taopheek is; an artist, a scientist, a serial entrepreneur, an inquisitive problem solver and an excellent organiser of men and resources – the brain behind the Project Management Conference (@PROMACON) in conjunction with the globally recognised Project Management Institute (PMI) and Creative Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria .
The road to entrepreneurial success started for the young but ambitious Taopheek in 2000 when he came to Abuja to start a career in Telecomms industry where he was posted to serve as a trainee Telecomms engineer in the defunct MTEL from where he discovered he could actually make a difference in the lives of others – he has a penchant for reading product information and using such information to solve people’s problems.
Taopheek talks about retiring from his work at an early age – a thought that is rarely shared among Nigerian CEOs – by building structures around his business to create a living brand that can exist without him just like the household brands whose owners have passed on but still continue to thrive.
He got this mindset learning from his greatest mentor – his father – whose mistakes included not bringing on board others who could share his business vision, associated risks and most importantly succession.
With the lessons learnt and the future looking like his oyster Taopheek isn’t hesitating to seize opportunities whenever they present themselves as he always searching for new ways to solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. Incidentally he shared his little money making secret with us – it’s actually a money formula; look for a problem, find the solution to it and monetize the solution. It’s a formula that hasn’t let him down since he began making money in Abuja as far back as 2000.
Taopheek does have a life outside of his work which more or less isn’t very different from his work life. He spends his weekends creating solutions that could solve people’s problems although once in a while he hangs out with friends, loves to dance, listen to music, write and draw. He’s not a foodie but he loves his local Amala so much.
He was Educated at Christ School Ado-Ekiti where he had his secondary Education and Lagos State University where he studied Physics and has certifications in project management and telecomms engineering.
His advise to Abuja is “Opportunities are everywhere, start with what you have, there’s strength in what you have than in what you’re looking for and you can use what you have to get what you want” A fitting advise indeed considering that the young Taopheek, a graduate of physics once actually worked as a barber at a Friend’s aunt’s salon and took up a small corner space in a plaza on his way to setting up the phone clinic.
It was an honour having Taopheek as our spotlight personality for the month of August and we wish him more success in his pursuits.