Please tell us about yourself
My name is Micheal Ojo. I am the founder of Octave incorporations, a digital solution Company aimed at advancing digitization in Nigeria and Africa at large. I am also a final-year student at the University of Lagos studying Chemical Engineering.
What was your growing up like?
I grew up in an area called Obalende in the local part of Ikoyi Lagos state. Growing up in this area was not motivating because I found myself among people who settle for less. I did not get any form of motivation or encouragement from the people I found myself. This is why I did not have many friends while growing up. This made me develop my determination not to settle for less just like other people in my community.
Finding yourself in this kind of environment, how were you able to motivate yourself?
Even though there was no motivation coming from anyone, I had to motivate myself by building my self-discipline, confidence and focus when the rest of my mates were out playing and having fun.
Also, the fact that I come from a humble background made me feel the responsibility that I am the one who is in the position to liberate my family from their financial precariousness. So, this serves as a motivation for me not to give up but to keep going.
A Lot of things I know currently were self -learnt, I kept on learning and I’m still learning because I have not gotten to the version of myself that I desire yet and I might never will because learning is a continuous process.
Do you have any role models? If you do, why such a person?
Yes, I do. My Role Model is Elon Musk.
I chose him as a role model because the rate at which he got to the top got me interested. He made me believe that anything is possible and that I can be as rich as him if only I have a plan and work towards it. I also noticed he started small before getting to where he is today. He also had the plan to be the richest and he followed the plan even despite all the challenges he faced. He has motivated me to put in the hard work required to get to where I want to be.
You are studying chemical engineering, what inspired you to venture into business and why Octave Incorporations?
I laid my hands on technology in 2020 when I started my data analytics project. I started making research while working on the project. I started learning different skills like data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, data development and all sort. This opened my eyes to opportunities
At the time I was at my 400 level and it was during the pandemic. I just had the plan to have good grades in school and work in the Oil industry then I realised there is life beyond a degree and a degree is becoming obsolete in this era. The most important thing is one’s skill.
This made me change my mind about not living an average life but a fulfilled life. I, therefore, gave myself a purpose to advance digitization in Nigeria.
Everything I will do for the rest of my life is tailored to this goal to advance digitization in all spaces of technology.
I’m currently in my final year, so I combine work with schooling.
How Are you able to combine schooling with work?
It has not been easy. it is tasking because you need timing and focus. I had to up my time management skill. I had to find a way to manage both. Sometimes I have to be up all night because I have to attend to clients in other countries because of the time zone difference.
I just make sure to prioritize things in an order of importance so that I focus on important things. It is not easy but it is possible.
What do you do at Octave Incorporation and why Octave Incorporation?
We provide quality on-demand digital education. We make digital education affordable and accessible because one of the challenges people face with learning digital skills is that they are very expensive. Not only this, time factors and commitment. We are trying to see ways we can help students who want to learn these digital skills. So, they can learn in the easiest possible way.
I don’t want other students going through the hard way of learning these skills like myself because I learnt the hard way.
We also work on real-life problems because we are looking forward to building solution providers and problem solvers. We teach them to have an entrepreneurial mindset so that they won’t start looking for jobs.
The name Octave came out of my passion for music. Octave in music means a set of notes. This is why my employees are called Notes
What are some of the challenges you faced when you first started? How did you handle those challenges?
The basic challenge faced is funding because we started with robotics. After we had made our plans and everything we had to go for a smaller idea where we can easily gather students to teach them.
Another challenge faced is the issue of enabling the environment in terms of unstable electricity and unstable networks.
Personally, challenges also come emotionally in the sense that those who are expected to be there for you tend to discourage or criticise you and this usually makes one discouraged especially because they are coming from loved ones.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
I have learnt that as an entrepreneur you don’t focus on having to make money but rather on how you create value. You have to build solutions that have a problem. Focusing on how much money you want to make is what brings frustration to a lot of entrepreneurs when they are not making enough money.
Focusing on satisfying and giving value to your customer is what should be the focus. The more one focuses on this the more money will inevitably follow. Money should be the end product of creating value.
This is the difference between a hustler and an entrepreneur because a hustler wants to just make money while an entrepreneur wants to create a lifetime investment.
You recently gave out free slots to learn data science for six months. What inspired you to make this decision?
Even right before getting into the technology space, there has always been that gender gap in science, technology and mathematics. I felt something needs to be done about it. My mission to bridge that gap motivated me to give out 100 slots to ladies which is going to be free and they will also be offered a world-class certification.
What advice or encouragement do you have for start-ups and intending entrepreneurs?
- Do not focus on money rather focus on making your product and services the best.
- Be open to collaborations. Partner with people who are doing the same thing as you to have a value exchange.
- Do not let challenges weigh you down. You can take a break because of your mental health but continue after the break and not relent.
- Do not focus on the noise on social media. Do not feel down because you are doing your best but you are not recognized or celebrated. Focus on your dream and your mission, your time will come.
- Be focused and believe in yourself. Your dream is legit but you have to put in the effort to attain your dream.
- You will face challenges but whatever happens, make sure you are not overcome by your challenges.
- Be patient, consistent and customer-centric. Build solutions that will work for people and have a market that will pay for you.