By Nzeh Frankwhite
Akomolafe Henrich Bankole is a 26-year-old young entrepreneur and an expert on Elevators and escalator, real estate and construction, Robotics and artificial intelligence. In this interview with the Ekiti state born entrepreneur, he speaks on his journey into Forbes and why he’s not relenting.
Tell us about your Journey into Forbes…
Forbes has always inspired me seeing the likes of great people changing their world. I set a goal for myself to make the Forbes Billionaires list. And this is what I have always worked towards. So being among the Forbes Africa 120 game changers is a pathway to this end. Firstly, as a young person, I believe so much in giving young people an opportunity to prove themselves. Elevator and escalator products are just emerging in the Nigerian market. Without a current manufacturing company in Nigeria, higher institutions and colleges are left to be indifferent to the subject matter. Hence the young Nigerian who may be interested in this field is helpless with ineptitude in this area making it even more difficult to employ available manpower. However, unlike many companies who would request years of work experience, I am keen to take young graduates in related fields that have a passion for learning and are working towards being the best at what they do. As the Manager of a company which deals with specialised products requiring technical know-how, I make allowance for the novice through trainings with on-field specialists. This has led to lot of innovation and progress. I began my career in the elevator industry in 2016, particularly at a time when Nigeria slipped into recession and I assumed position as the Managing Director of Akotex Nigeria Limited. Akotex Nigeria Limited is concerned with the delivery of Engineering services (Elevator and Escalator). In a bid to build up a successful business despite the raging recession, I set about to attain goals that would launch my business into the international world and raise it to global standards. Putting to use three business strategies, the company has generated remarkable profits within years in business and also established new business lines such as BNR a Real Estate and Construction Company; and M7R an Information Technology company into the latest technological trends. I am a self-starter who is a master of multitasking with a serial entrepreneurial experience in Engineering and Real estate, construction, and Information Technology. As an Entrepreneur with over seven years of experience in my industry of interest, I have contributed my entrepreneurial expertise to my organisation and my country Nigeria. Born on 1st October, 1992, I began primary education in a rural area in Kano state. At 8 years old, I was introduced into the business world by co-founding a company with my Father where I served on the board of directors till date. I received secondary education in Abuja and Ekiti. A graduate of Computer Engineering from the Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics in 2015, I obtained a Masters degree in Information Technology Strategic Management from Barcelona School of Management (BSM) – Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Spain in 2016. I acquired both engineering and commercial experience in 2016 from MP Ascensores Sevilla, Spain where I served as an intern. Since 2016, I have continued to work in the engineering elevator industry where I stand as the youngest with my age of 26.
Who would you say motivated you most in becoming what you are today?
My father has been the greatest motivator for me. Ever since I was little, he has always propelled the best out of me and has constantly disclosed to me the reality of life and business underlining that I am never too young to achieve a goal and that is why at my age I seem to have excelled in my chosen business career.
As a young entrepreneur, how conducive is the Nigerian business environment for starters?
In terms of available manpower, the Nigerian business environment provides a support. However a lot of challenges such as an inflated economy, lack of accessible resources, and insecurity do not allow the young entrepreneur thrive as easily as should be expected from a country of undoubtedly large market. Although notable entrepreneurs have scaled through these hurdles, there is still capacity for the government to lay emphasis on making the market favourable and conducive for starters.
You were listed among Forbes Young entrepreneurs. That’s a great record. How has that influenced your thinking as it pertains your business?
Getting to be listed on Forbes has ascertained my dreams to achieving great feats in the business world and broadened my business knowledge through the relationships I have built with other young entrepreneurs who were also listed on Forbes.
Who are your typical clients and what do you do that makes them want you for another job?
All my customers are typical and special but I have had long-time relationships with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Sahad Stores, Bolton White Hotels, and Finlab and I believe that my customer relationship, matchless product quality and time delivery are what drive my customers to engage us in providing more services.
As a master of multitasking with a serial entrepreneurial experience in Engineering and Real estate, construction, and Information Technology, how can/have you been able to bring your expertise to the corridors of power as a youth who wants to see change and also as an Entrepreneur with over 7years of experience in your industry of interest?
Over the years, I have been able to interact with high profiled people and discuss entrepreneurial matters which have led to fruitful agreements. In the nearest future, I want to start manufacturing elevators in Nigeria and I hope to be the first to do so. This would totally change the elevator industry for Nigerian professionals, higher institutions of learning and the construction industry.
Outside work, what else do you do?
Outside work, I don’t go to the cinema to see movies, I only read and hang out with friends for drinks and probably play video games to relieve me from stress, and sometimes I sleep.
What is your message to the youths and those looking forward to be named among Forbes youngest entrepreneurs?
Young people should never believe they can only excel in their area of specialisation; they can always diversify and must never lose focus!