Chine Ezekwesili is one of the co-founders of Akanka design agency. This is a brand that started as a side-hustle, but metamorphosed into a real business. In less than 3 years of operations, Akanka has garnered different clientele from virtually all sectors of the economy by leveraging on social media, helping them build impactful and minimalist graphic designs.
Inspiration Behind AKANKA
He is currently a student at Yale university studying Development Economics. Prior to coming back to school, he was an analyst focused on the Science and Technology Sector.
On Becoming An Entrepreneur
It was a transition. He started Akanka as a one-person thing that was more of a side-hustle than anything else. As more people joined, they got busier and he realized he couldn’t continue it on the side anymore, so it became full time.
Team Behind AKANKA.
Two co-founders – Chine & his brother who is a graphics designers and the creative lead. There is an admin team of 5 people: three guys (including myself) and two ladies. Akanka also has an ever increasing network of talented designers that handle projects.
On Balancing Business And Other Personal Responsibilities?
Chine says he has learned to delegate responsibilities and understand that others are willing to help and are competent.
How He Manages Challenges As A Young Entrepreneur
Ekwesili stated that there are a number of great projects Akanka would love to start, but can’t at the moment. They work as a lean startup, investing proceeds back into the business and framing their projects as minimum viable projects. This system significantly minimizes cost.
Creating Brand Awareness For Akanka Via Social Media
Social media has been integral to Akanka’s business model. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has been used to showcase designs and close to 95% of their clients are those that see their work on social media.
Increasing Clientele-base Overtime?
First, by creating top notch work and guaranteeing an awesome experience from the point of contact by the client to the delivery of the final design project. Akanka has greatly benefited from referrals but intend to use social media ads to pull in clients.
Make a product people love and create value- Chine Ezekwesili
Future Plans For Akanka.
Ezekwesili said that the medium term goal is to take Akanka beyond the Nigerian market; to the international markets where margins are much higher. There are other side projects that will act as new revenue sources and potentially surpass Akanka itself. They also have plans to offer training to freelance designers.
Advice To Budding Entrepreneurs
“First, ensure you have a viable business model. People must want to buy your product on a sustainable and ongoing basis. Your brilliant idea needs to actually work in reality. Second, if you’re looking to be cool and have flexible hours, forget startup life – it is brutal. Third, whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re so good people can’t ignore you.”