"FATE Foundation has been of tremendous support to us in terms of business development trainings, mentorship and guidance."
Egbayelo was born in 1989 in Ondo state, Nigeria and grew up in the city of Lagos. Moving to Lagos was difficult as he was bullied for the first few months. He says: “I was tormented by other children who knew I was a ‘village boy’ but as time went on the bullying stopped”.
Egbayelo grew up with his mother in Ajegunle. She would not allow him to go outside and play with other children because of the environment, so he wasn’t really exposed to a lot of things until he was older and had more freedom. He started experiencing life on his own and training his mind by reading books and going to inspirational events.
He saw a lot of his older friends being dependent on their parents for several years after school. He did not want to be in the same situation so after graduating, Egbayelo began working as a waiter. This helped him to understand administration and how to relate to people. He worked there for four years and was promoted to supervisor but it was at this time that he discovered his passion for films and subsequently left to start his filmmaking career. Egbayelo’s former boss connected him to his first film mentor and that’s how his journey began. He attended the Royal Arts Academy to do a professional filmmaking course but wanted to be self-reliant, create jobs for other young people and express his passion for filmmaking - as a result, he became an entrepreneur.
Before starting the business, Egbayelo had a very flexible schedule. Afterwards, that all changed. He became much more responsible: “I felt if I didn’t do anything reasonable in a day that I would fail and fail other team members working with us. Every day, every minute, every second becomes valuable.”
Egbayelo started his business, Uvisuals Studios, in November 2015, producing everything from standard film and video productions, to corporate videos, documentaries and event videos. He mainly finds customers through social media promotion and referrals. The customer gives him a brief description of the kind of video they want by either filling out a form or meeting with the Chief Creative Officer (Egbayelo’s business partner, Eric Ikenna Mba). There is then an in-house creative session to develop the video concept and the equipment is released before going out to film the client. The footage is then passed on to the post production department for editing. The administrative department will request feedback to ensure customer satisfaction.
The biggest challenge in starting the business was initially finding the customers. They also had funding challenges for the project ideas, however, the business grew organically and is still growing today. The customers are mostly corporate organisations and event owners. He says “Our biggest achievement as a business is the acquisition of top notch production equipment, studio space and getting structured as a business. We are not yet there yet but we are making progress.”
Egbayelo was supported by FATE Foundation, YBI’s member in Nigeria, to gain the skills he needed to run his business, after hearing about them through one of their volunteers. He says “the depth of the information about business the facilitator gives are so relatable to me and this is exactly what we needed. FATE has been of tremendous support to us in terms of business development trainings, mentorship and guidance. I have learned how to be more organised as a business, effectively run operations and the best ways to position my business for the future.”
The business is now more accountable after having successfully set up a system which they monitored through a growth and support unit and they have also defined their standard operation procedure. Egbayelo says “I can now monitor my cash flow, determine if I am making profit or loss and articulate the business administrative process properly, none of which I could do before.”
His goal for the business is to be the preferred film and video agency for premium cinematic experience in Africa. In the next few years, he hopes to have employed more staff and filmed many different projects. He currently has three full-time staff and over 20 contract staff and feels, in their own little way, that the business is contributing to the local community by training and employing young people.
He has this advice for other young entrepreneurs:
“Keep doing what you are doing. The journey might seem tough now but the result will definitely be worth it.”