Happy New Month Konnect Africans!!! The glorified or dreaded ‘Ember’ months [depending on your point of view] are finally here!
We kick-start this glorious new month by getting up, close and personal with Eizu Uwaoma, the Founder, Lead Consultant and Strategist at Hexavian Group Ltd, a brand management and business consultancy company which has built over a 100 businesses in Nigeria as well as powerful African brands . The story of this impassioned mathematician, writer, and poet who challenged the status quo to build his dream, is sure to galvanize you to bigger and better things in this brand new month.
Eizu is not afraid to toot his own horn as he describes himself as a creative person with a profound brand and flair for enterprise and brand development, great write ups and co-coordinative facilitation; with a career in brand, human capital and business consultancy and management.
KA: You sound quite young; would you graciously share your age with us?
Eizu: Well, I am twenty seven years old. Even though it feels like I’ve lived many lives in one lifetime (laughs)
KA: Strange way to start an interview right? Pardon me, but you have taken giant strides in a relatively short time; how and when did the Hexavia dream begin?
Eizu: Well, the Hexavian Dream has been with me since my days as an undergraduate. It was born out of a pursuit for my purpose here on earth which is to add ‘outnovative’ value to people and to effortlessly influence others to succeed better through words, projects, designs and advisory. So in my early days and in the making of the dreams, I was attracted to poetry and Hip-hop, I did graphics and I helped set up a few cliques in school. But then, I watched Hexavia metamorphose into phases and then a brand. It’s safe to say that the Hexavian dream evolved as I watched myself move from music to writing to teachings and then brand, business and then enterprise, all with the same baseline of value driven creativity.
I’d say that Hexavia developed a spirit of its own with time but it came from nothing but a need. Hexavia came from a need to grow by adding value to people, ideas and businesses. We help businesses, people and ideas become better.
KA: From your official profile, I see you studied Mathematics; how does a Mathematician go into branding?
Eizu: Sincerely, I think my deep knowledge of mathematics adds tremendous value to everything cerebral. There is no construction of any kind without an application of mathematics and that’s what you do when building a brand. Apart from solving problems of figures, mathematics gives you a more detailed, deeper and very analytical state of mind which helps in managing creativity and the building of brands which has grown into being my forte.
KA: You have a number of certifications from the Nigerian Institute of Management, the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria with a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in view; are these prerequisites for excelling in your line of business?
Eizu: The process of excellence and success is usually sprung through native intelligence, will, grace and the gift. But even when you have all these gifts, it still needs refinement. And I think that’s what all these degrees and certifications have done for me.
KA: Starting a business is no mean feat; what/who bolstered your confidence, and what, if any obstacles did you have to overcome to achieve what you have?
Eizu: Maybe, I am naturally too strong headed to allow other people define my reality. I do what I want to, and then I’d do it well so you can understand my intentions and this is what people define as confidence. To do this requires guts, a lot of risks and courage. But then, Like Frederick Wilcox said “Progress always involves risk; you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”
In a world and a country where people do not give young people a chance, my Team and I had to take lots of risks as typical entrepreneurs with an understanding that, that is where progress truly lies. I started this dream with zero capital, and then it attracted a lot of other great people who saw the vision as it was progressively elaborated, and they went as far as working for the meagre pay we could only afford at that time. I remember how they would mirror me at times in working through the night, and sacrificing their weekends to ensure that they deliver a satisfactory job to our clients and the dream at large; I will always appreciate it.
There were terrible moments when I started the business with Zero capital and no office to work in. There were times when I was unsure of where the next meal would come from, and I would just cuddle myself, lie hungry in bed and console myself with writing. And there was a time when I had to fight and stay strong; family members began to wonder if I had a sense of direction, friends advised me to get a job and forget about being an entrepreneur. But like the end of every tunnel, there comes a time where you do see the light, and whenever I look back, I can’t help but smile in amazement at my ability to scale through.
KA: And what an ability that was! What jobs has Hexavia handled thus far? What does the scope of your services include?
Eizu: Well, we have helped build over a hundred businesses for clients. This includes series of growing SME’s as well as powerful African brands, like Chaz B’s ‘Sharing Life Issues’ which we have been able to help move from where it was to being Nigeria’s most successful radio program which is currently on the Silverbird Network with millions of live listeners daily, nationwide. Others include, the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), DJ Humility of Rhythm 93.7, Goge Africa and tens of other powerful brands. Our services include strategy and business development, branding and brand strategy, trainings and enterprise consultancy. Also, our own Potters Lounge project is one of Lagos’s most laudable quarterly events, a hub for the sound and young to meet the high and successful for a grooming and power transfer process. It has seen over a thousand people pass through our interactive courses (book and business case studies), talks, crash business classes, inspirational presentations and networking.
KA: Let’s take a breather; who is Chinweizu Uwaoma? What is his ethnicity, and what are his favourite memories of childhood?
Eizu: Well, Eizu Uwaoma is a creative, 27 year old brand strategy and enterprise consultant, facilitator and writer from the Eastern part of Nigeria. He holds a profound brand and flair for enterprise and brand development, great write ups and co-coordinative facilitation with a career in brand, human capital and business consultancy and management. He is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management with an MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in view. He is also a certified member of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the recipient of the Niger-Delta Restoration of Hope/Ken saro Wiwa Award for poetry and short stories, Texas, USA. He is a member of District 9110, Rotary Club of Ikoyi , the Co-founder of Foundation 360, initiator/facilitator of the Potters Lounge Ikoyi and the Lead consultant and strategist at The Hexavian group Ltd.
KA: What educational institutions did you attend?
Eizu: I am very proud to say I am home grown, the type who has been able to compete comfortably with any of his peers, anywhere in the world. I went to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and then proceeded to the University of Lagos for a Master’s Degree.
KA: How did you fare in the job market? What was your career path?
Eizu: Well, in my very early days, I had opportunities to be mentored by the best minds. I also worked in ITSI as well as Intermarc where we hosted Africa’s biggest e-business, Card, ATM and Mobile payment Expo at the Civic Centre Victoria Island, Lagos
KA: Do share with us about Foundation 360.
Eizu: Foundation 360 refers to an NGO with a team of young people and projects in selective rural and urban areas, each with function specific projects that suit the defined catchment needs. We are aimed at human capital development using popular culture oriented means relative to the specific domain. We help in creating better minds, lives and a more positive and progressive nation through youths while building a country and world with value.
KA: What’s your CEO advice for upcoming entrepreneurs?
Eizu: I think CEOs should be more value driven and not just lay egotistically by their positions and the Returns on Investments. They should concentrate on being the best at what their company or idea is supposed to be doing. It’s not easy, but it becomes easy by consistency in excellence. We will begin to make it in geometric progression once we can be the best in the value we add , especially when we put our best minds and efforts into it.
KA: If Hexavia was appointed to ‘re-brand Nigeria’, what steps would they take?
Eizu: I would start by re-orientating the people. The rebranding of Nigeria first of all will have to be done mentally through the stimulation of a new deal and sincerity of purpose among all strategic stakeholders to have a change in the brand called Nigeria. Before all the brand campaigns, we’d like to get the wrong people off all strategic seats, then get the right people on board to power a brand strategy that will be driven through excellence in infrastructures, aesthetics and most importantly, the intellectual sanctuaries of the entities that makes us up (family, schools, government religion and mass media) and then through the stereotypical rebranding operations (slogans, messages, visual and other sensory tools for aesthetics etc.)
KA: If Eizu was President for a day, what would he do about Boko Haram?
Eizu: (Laughs), First of all, I have no intentions of being president as I’d rather run the strategy, frameworks and guidelines that will develop people who will become great presidents. But for the sake of the question- Well, having watched the government in recent times undertake trial by error means to curb the mishap, it’s obvious what is extremely necessary at this point. So I will first clot the national bleeding off an irrational cause by using the superiorities of intelligence and military forces backed by the powers of common good and the law to create temporary measures for sanity within the communities. This means peace by any means necessary. Only at this point can we begin to dive into the root cause (underdevelopment, ineffective negotiations and due dialogues, poverty, selfish ambitions powered by bitter politics, mental, religious and social political slavery which thrives on ignorance and corruption).
KA: ‘Life’s beautiful’ is a saying many would disagree with; would you?
Eizu: Life is how you see it. Life is beautiful, and whether you agree or not, you’d be right; it’s your choice and how you choose to see life, explains how you’d end up living it.
KA: Inspire an African youth with one sentence.
Eizu: We are what we repeatedly do; always choose to be at your best always.