Good day man, it’s my pleasure bringing you on board. Can you introduce yourself and your business?
I’m Caleb Olanipekun, a graduate of Biology into developmental work in Nigeria. I’m into freelance IT training service branded as Digibase Consult.
What’s the whole idea of Digibase Consult like?
Digibase consult is a training and consulting service Centre for ICT related courses and services. Being an IT expert with many years experience in the field and working with IT firms; after some time, i decided to start my own training center that offers a freelance service.
The mission behind Digibase consult is to improve the IT knowledge of Nigerians, especially business owners who until now have not been tapping into the opportunities in integrating digital technologies in running their business operations and this have an overall effect on their performance and eventually their growth.
Example of this are local business centres that can not been found on search engines. Many of these small business owners who’re into ICT related businesses don’t even know that they can profit from putting their businesses online.
So, basically, I want to help reduce bottlenecks Nigerians faced in having access to technical know-how in information and technology.
That’s quite interesting Caleb, Can you now tell us What drives you into ICT and freelancing?
Oh! Passion I must say. I’ve always loved technology since I was younger.
I started from opening my dad’s radio to understand the mystery behind the talking, making cars with strings and others, and later met a school research project manager whom I worked with in typing project as a volunteer during my secondary school’s education.
It was from this I had my foundation knowledge about internet, the use of computer, learning about PC operating systems like Windows 98, 2000, XP before the evolution of Window 7, 8, 10, and even Linux Ubuntu 14.
For all the IT skill I know today, it was mostly through passion and self development.
My passion drives me to self develop my skills in IT as i just want to know all about computer, to the point that I got employed by IT firms without a single Certificate in ICT training after seeing my demonstrated skills, Experience and Expertise.
Eventually, my work with the IT firms and experience in teaching and learning process gave me opportunity to know more and to be able to transfer the knowledge I know.
What are now your areas of expertise?
I specialize in Beginners packages like Computer Appreciation, Operating System, then professional Packages like Hardware Engineering, Networking (CCNA (routing and switching)), Graphics Design (Corel Draw, Photoshop), Web Technology (Web Design using HTML & CSS, Web Development with PHP and WordPress, and recently Digital Marketing.
For the areas I’ve mentioned, not only do I know them, I have mastered them to be able to teach and offer any services related to them.
That’s incredible having self taught on these subjects. Do you now take all these services as passion or as a job?
One of the pathways to success in life is making one’s passion a profession, I see IT as a job opportunity for me but more importantly, I’ve realized that ICT could be integrated into any career path in life, so it always provide a job (means of income) for me.
As a job now, I’ve worked with Classic Systems Infotech Limited. I was once in charge of an IT lab, a sophisticated solar powered laboratory equipped with network infrastructures and other gadgets in Baptist school in Oyo state.
Also, since I love developmental work, I volunteer to design banners (flex, web banners), flyers, posters etc. for up to three nongovernmental organizations in Nigeria.
Some of them are Centre for Inclusive Agriculture and Gender Development (CIA-GED) which I work with, and ISEC (International Student Environmental Coalition), which I volunteered for.
I also trained farmers extension workers how to blog and make use of digital marketing.
ICT seems to be at the infancy stage in Nigeria, how do you convince a potential client to benefit from your service?
Thank you for this question! Actually, it’s not easy. I’ve worked with an NGO whose target is to improve their SEO and i had to show them what I can do to convince them.
Getting a client is a challenge in Nigeria, especially when you’re not among the bigons or the giants in IT. So for me, the way I convince client is to show them what I can do, at times sponsor the process, then they’ll pay.
What are the challenges you’re battling with presently?
Getting serious clients locally has not been easy. There are people who have been talking about having a website but never did, some want to brand their product but not ready to sponsor the cost.
Sometimes, I run the initial stage of my client’s project with my fund for them to see and be convinced to pay in which it works but other times, it doesn’t and the challenge here is that, some clients do change the agreement when they get their results before payment.
For trainings, I insist they make financial commitment to it, though most walk away because of this, but those who are really interested will agree.
Also in training, taking computer trainees through the basics is a daunting task. Some just felt they need a computer skills, so the lack of passion deny them creativity that the bedrock of becoming an expert in ICT needed.
Others just can’t assimilate the many terms involved in IT so I’m forced to repeat the same concept over an over using any means I know that can work.
Irregular power supply, high cost of internet data and slow network bandwidths are also challenges for me some time.
What are your achievements so far?
I was able to start my own training and consulting service centre this year after many years of working for and with others.
Also, I was able to successfully design website to showcase my expertise and allow clients to book for services online.
It’s good to hear that, What are you now looking forward to achieve?
I see digibase becoming a leading freelance IT training centre, not only in Nigeria, but having more partnerships with global firms to deliver quality IT training and services to the whole world at large.
I’m also looking forward to get registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission so that i can give certificates in the name of my company and not through partners.
We wish you the best. Can you tell us where you foresee your industry in the next ten years in Nigeria and in the global market?
I see ICT evolving into a means of achieving SDGs, this is because IT industry will provide the link that is required to bridge information gap.
One of the reasons development in Sub-saharan African countries has been slow is the poor distribution of quality information towards self empowerment and self growth.
Ok! What do you expect the Nigerian government to do in the ICT industry towards developing it, especially with many opportunities that could bring jobs to the most unemployed Nigerian youths?
The Nigerian government should patronize more small and media scale IT firms once they have the capacity to handle their projects in order to create opportunities that reach the grassroots and encourage ICT at the grass level.
There are many areas youths can be employed in ICT field but it all begins with training and passion. If passion for IT can be discovered among youths, such youths should then be trained to express the creativity their passion births.
It has been fantastic hosting you and we hope to seeing you making your dream a reality.
For the potential clients who would like to connect with you, what are your channels?
Thank you, I can be contacted through the following channels.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Olanipekuncaleb@gmail.com
Facebook page: Digibaseconsult