ECOWAS Youth Ambassador, Ikeakhe Moses Ehigie, speaks on his career, how he achieved success at a very young age and established a multi-business agglomerate in Nigeria.
What’s your background like?I am from Uromi, Esan-East North Local Government Area of Edo State and I was born and brought up in Benin City, the state capital. I was born on March 26, 1994, into a family of nine: six girls and three boys. My primary education was at Hills International School and my secondary school education was at Uniben Demonstration Secondary School, UDSS, both in Benin City. I did my bachelor’s degree in Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA. I am currently studying Media Communication and Business in Moscow, Russia. I also have a degree in International Relations.
As a well-established businessman, what’s your experience?
I have been in business for a decade now. I believe in consistency and hard-work. These are some of my secrets and mind you, I have failed so many times. We will win only if we fail and learn from our failures. I am into media, hospitality and entertainment. I have been able to build an empire that serves as a movement for the African youths. I believe that age shouldn’t be a barrier to set up something for yourself or community. We should be carriers of diligence and encouragement. I started business very early and got inspired by my lovely mom, Mrs. Caroline Ikeakhe. But generally, I am from a business-minded home where I grew up watching people hustle in every corner of my home. For instance, my parents were owners of a bakery. Now, I can happily say that I am the Chief Executive Officer to Born Winners Empire, BWE. This is a brand that has given hundreds of Nigerian youths jobs and millions of youths a platform including Frost Water, El-Castillo and Caroline’s Kitchen with BWE Studios and BWE TV. We are currently building the biggest animation studio in Nigeria, where we will bring many untold stories to life and we will give back our culture and history to our kids and younger generation. Lest I forget, we are also working on a full-time 3D animation movie entitled Alobe Virus. Please watch-out for it.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Criticism, which I rather see as a motivation. We live in a space where age is a big factor. I get “you are to young to be making money” because I understand our mindset in Nigeria. In line with that, I organised a youth empowerment conference in 2018 entitled “The Future”, where I had some of our stars in every industry that are doing well for themselves and the community to talk to 600 youths. This was a free event for the youths. It was a huge success because the feedback was great. I started business at a very tender age. I started investing little pennies and flipping it twice and that built my courage that the more I save to do this, I could make more money out of it. Additionally, it hasn’t been easy for start-up businesses in Nigeria. This is because we are faced with all kinds of challenges; from lack of electricity to unaccounted taxes and others. The truth is that it’s not every business trip you embark on that will flourish in initially. Most business would instead require loads of time to grow, as in the development and productivity of a human being. Nevertheless, one important thing an entrepreneur must be oriented on is that businesses need bounties of encouragement and fuelling.
What has kept you going?I have so much believe in my goals and vision. I knew my business ideas would lead me to success regardless of the challenges, so I was ready to fail so many times. The fearless spirit in me was really helpful in the hard times and for sure, God has been very supportive. The Nigerian market is big and underrated. Our population alone is a big factor to enhancing business success. We are over 200 million and that is a huge figure for the growth of a business and this is what we are building to engage and utilise the entire populace. Have you ever felt like quitting?
Nay. I have never for once felt like quitting, because each time I think deeper, I got to realise that I have millions of youths looking up to me, including the generation unborn. So I stayed strong and always I get motivated by the youths I mentor. Then I turn to myself and say, I have to keep the train moving.
You are well travelled. How do Nigerian youths compare to those of other developing nations?
Well, I will say I am really impressed with what I see and hear about Nigerian youths. We are making good waves in every part of the world and we always adapt easily into a new system far different from where we come from. Most of the best doctors are in the Nigerians, as well as the best technicians. I will use this opportunity to give accolades to the young man with name Silas Adekunle, Co-Founder of Reach Robotics. I am sure you know his story. Its time the world recognises Nigeria as a great nation.
Say something about your ECOWAS Youth Ambassadorship?
I was very surprised when I got a leadership award recognition from ECOWAS Youth Council in 2018. That’s after I did my first youth empowerment conference. It is a huge honour for me and I am just getting started to serve the people and my community. I am looking forward to greater things ahead. Going forward, I will still be here creating opportunities, platforms and serving the people. I have been striving for a global reach-out to keep the flag up and tell the world what we stand for.What is your philosophy of life? Life is a race that has a dead end, but while we are running we should carry our competitors along. Whether they fall or get tired, we are edging to the same dead end. Forget who gets there first, simply create a giant impact and love. What’s your hobby/pastime? I have a lot of hobbies. I love sport; football especially. I love to read all kind of books, good or bad and I learn from every situation. Travelling is another way to educate myself, so I do that often because I believe that “knowledge is never too much”. I enjoy dancing and singing even though I don’t know most of the lyrics. Again, I enjoy driving too and off course cleaning, as one of my best therapy. A lot more, I am a very different person and I am still growing to new things that keeps me positive and happy. Who’s the lucky woman? My mom and my future daughter are the lucky women. Any advice to the weak young ones out there? Stay strong! I know its hard to stay strong but look out for someone that you can connect with all the time. This same person might be doing better than you in most cases, but that is the thing, that is the strong energy that will always charge you up and follow his/her good steps to greatness. Life is not easy for just you, but everyone. People should only try to live it without sorrows and negativity.