• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Mushin to Birmingham: How founder, Akintola made African history in UK

Mushin to Birmingham: How Akintola set African history in the UK

Daniel Akintola, a Nigerian entrepreneur set African history in the United Kingdom after emerging as the 2024 IAMBCU Awards Entrepreneur of the Year- Student at Birmingham City University, England for OH PRIME TV, a product of his media tech start-up built from the confines of cyber cafes in bustee Mushin, Lagos, 17 years ago.

The milestone makes him the first Nigerian and by extension, African to claim the award, which recognises entrepreneurs making waves in business or supporting others to develop an entrepreneurial mindset through community impact.

But Akintola’s path to setting a new African record is not linear. As a Nigerian entrepreneur in a competitive market, he has had his fair share of the Nigerian dream.

Growing up

Akintola was raised as the last child in a family of four in the shanty town of Mushin in Lagos, Nigeria. At barely 6 years old, he lost his father and was raised by a virtuous faith-believing widow mother, whose influence proved to shape his trajectory.

“In order to give me an academic edge over my classmates in public schools, my mother gladly wore rags, so as to to afford the tuition of after-school tutorial classes of Ifelodun Group of School at Papa-Ajao, Mushin (An Ivy League school in Mushin rating of those days),” he told BusinessDay.

In those struggling times, Akintola would be contented with eating Ewa Otili (Pigeon peas), a type of beans that takes at least six hours to prepare) and drinking Leebu (Grinded Cassava Lumps) to quench a day-long hunger.

A successful attempt, but not completely, as Akintola continues to thirst, no longer after food, but African greatness.

“My life is nothing but an amazing grace story of a man cruising on the covenant highways of his divine destiny fulfilment,” he said.

Akintola furthered his education and obtained a National Diploma in Accounting from Ogun Polytechnic, Abeokuta, moving on to gain his first degree, a B.Sc in Accounting from The Lagos State University (LASU).

If Akintola had been informed of his now earned recognition ealier, it may have come as a surprise.

Birth of an idea

As a rookie intern, Akintola began his corporate career at Precise Financial Systems (PFS), known for his meticulous analytical thinking and oratory skills. His internship groomed him for the accounting industry, participating in an audit of bank charges and interest on loans disbursed to subsidiaries of an indigenous conglomerate by 17 banks. Impressed by his performance, Philip Ayeni, Deputy M.D. of PFS, retained him.

After several years under Ayeni’s mentorship, Akintola became a formidable presence in the financial probity sector, demanding refunds from banks for overcharged fees.

“An excess of #7.5 Billion was recovered in that forensic audit exercise in 2007. That was the climax for me, so, I took a bow out of paid employment to experiment with the findings of my 2yrs of research on video streaming technology by founding Danny Brooks Technologies.”

Danny Brooks

In 2007, Akintola thought of a streaming technology company that could provide a full suite of end-to-end online broadcasting and streaming solutions. From the confines of several cyber cafes in Mushin, he built Danny Brooks Technologies, a media tech start-up buying weekly night browsing tickets to research.

“How can I forget those nights when some of those cafe managers who go to the toilet to invite the Police over, telling them food was ready (Police raiding Cafe in those days was corruptly lucrative).”

13 years later, In 2020, when the world suffered from the outspread of the coronavirus, and opportunity opened up for Akintola’s organisation.

With everything and everyone going digital, Danny Brooks Technologies collaborated with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (R.C.C.G) to digitise the yearly Ministry Partners’ Dinner event.

“It was a robust success,” said Akintola. “So, in 2021, we were invited to a collaboration, hence, Danny Brooks Technologies formed a JV with RCCG and brought freedom to African media consumers by liberating them from their Pay TV slave masters through the launch of Africa’s 1st zero subscription online TV platform named OH PRIME (Open Heavens Prime).

“Through resilience, the start-up of those years has grown to have had on her clientele retainership, the Lagos State Government, Law and Crime Trial Networks, Bedmate Furniture, Loveworld Television Networks and many others.”

A contagious recognition

His achievements did not go unnoticed as on January 20, 2024, Danny Brooks Technologies was awarded one of BuisnessDay’s Top 100 Fastest Growing SMEs in Nigeria.

According to him, the recognition was “extremely contagious.”

“I won the BusinessDay Top 100 SMEs CEO award in January last year and by September, I also emerged the West African Winner of the Global Start-up Award: Diversity Role Model.”

Now, in 2024, Akintola has earned another recognition for his company at Birmingham City University, where he is currently writing his dissertation for the completion of an International M.B.A degree from Birmingham City Business School, where he appreciated the General Overseer of the RCCG, E.A Adeboye and the Dove Media for their influence on his business.

“For a fact, the composition of BCU’s team of award panelists was extremely up-tight, as they were finicky in their set business audit yardsticks, however, by God’s grace, winning the award was a walk in the park for me, because I was coming from the toughest climes business eco-system in the world for any business to thrive.”

In Nigeria, many businesses continue to navigate the thick cloud of unpredictable government policies and currency fluctuations despite a booming population and large market. Akintola has seen his fair share.

“The volatility of governmental regulatory policy formulation in Africa is worst around the globe. While the corruption surrounding the crawling internet penetration and government aiding Telcos in data over-pricing is shameful. I am looking forward to when 100TB of Monthly data plan willn’t cost more than $20, such that, Hoteliers across the African continent can conveniently stream OHP in all their rooms.”

He says his presence in the UK has taught him about the dynamics of rival brands collaborating from the angle of their comparative advantages.

Ideation stimulants

Akintola, an alumnus of the Executive Education Program of Harvard Business School, attributes his growth to “the mercies of God and my own dexterity of not wanting to allow my background peg my back to the ground.”

He believes his story could inspire aspiring tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

“Greenery of geometric exploit is all I see in our future as Africa’s streaming technology powerhouse. This global recognition is ideation stimulants to the hundreds of Aspiring Tech Entrepreneurs in Yaba, Ojere and Futa that, dreams do come through.”