Phebean Oluwagbemi is the chief executive officer of Audio Girl Africa, a start-up that helps young, creative and passionate African women to build careers in audio production and technology.
She is a recording and sound mixing engineer and also works as an employee at Azusa Productions— as a live and studio sound engineer.
A dogged fighter and entrepreneur, she thrives in the industry defined and dominated by male folk.
The young entrepreneur tells Start-Up Digest that Audio Girl aims at training and inspiring young women through carefully designed workshops, internships, engaging online contents and mentorship.
Phebean graduated in 2012 from the University of Ibadan, where she studied Chemistry Education. After her National Youth Service Corps, she decided to set up Audio Girl Africa on the 16th of January 2018 with Aramide Bada, who is a co-founder.
She was inspired to start the business by the desire to create a platform where women would have the chance and opportunity to train and work as sound engineers without any sort of gender disparity.
“I figured out at one point that I was always the only girl on a live set in the midst of many men, and I realised that they were very few women in audio production, especially in Africa,” she says.
“I will like to create and witness a world where there are equal percentages of both men and women in the audio industry,” she adds.
The entrepreneur started her business with N300, 000, which she raised from her savings, financial aids from friends and contributions from business partner.
Evaluating her business growth since she started, Phebean says that it has been a gradual progress, rather than an exponential growth.
“We have had a couple of successes, successful workshops and girls who are dedicated to the profession,” She says.
Currently, Audio Girl Africa is yet to have an employee but has volunteers. Phebean explains that she plans to expand the business to include event planning and boot camps to encourage publicity. She currently works on building a stronger network with major industry players, stakeholders, especially those in audio talent recruitment. She also intends to engage in developmental activities for herself and her business, which include registering her business and acquiring more certificates.
She says what makes her distinct in the field is creating a platform for young, savvy, skilled and passionate women and girls to delve into audio production and see it as a career choice too.
The entrepreneur discloses that as much as she enjoys what she does, there are some challenges which can be very discouraging.
“One of the major challenges is that the business is capital intensive,” she says.
“It is a male-dominated world. Therefore, convincing clients is hard work and sometimes people will want to cheat you.”
“Getting partnership, sponsorship and publicity is also difficult as well as getting approval from schools to start up audio classes,” she explains.
She has been able to wade through challenges, especially with the help she gets from professionals who help with advice and volunteers to teach and train during their workshops. She is also succeeding, thanks to her ability to personally curate and create contents herself.
She pleads with the government to include Audio Technology into the educational curricula, provide easily assessable financial aids and help with trainings.
She is inspired by women who have dared to take up challenges in a male-dominated world, especially in the sound engineering space. She is an ardent believer of teamwork and creativity.
Advising other entrepreneurs, she states that consistency and hard work are important in whatever they do.