Oluwakoyejo Oluwatosin is the chief software architect of Chronicles Software Development Company Limited. The Solution Company was founded on the 27th September 2007, while Koyejo was a final year student in the University. He is a recipient of 5 million naira grant, won during 2012 programme tagged “Developing Nigeria’s Next Generation of ICT Entrepreneurs.” The event was sponsored by the Jim Ovia Foundation in partnership with Google, IBM, Visafone, Microsoft, QT and TLC Solutions. In this interview with EntrepreNEWS, he shares secrets of his company’s growth, admonishing young entrepreneurs to dare to succeed.
What my company does
Chronicles was registered as a limited liability company in August 2008 and commerce full time operations in May 2010. We provide software services for wide variety of clients cutting across industries, education, entrepreneurs and so on. With Four active members on board the founder and three other Directors, Chronicles S.D.C Limited is positioned in developing Africa’s Finest Solution Company. Since the inception of our company we have been working to provide quality software solutions and excellent service delivery to our various customers.
Presently we have two leading products, and the third one is being developed. We pioneered Nigeria’s first electronic (computer-based) test; the “Universal Test Engine” (UTEn). The word “universal” was chosen because it can work with any subject – English, Mathematics, Technical Drawing, Science, etc. A number of schools are using the software already. That led us into the next application we call “Success Box.” This can be used by the students in their own homes, unlike UTEn which must be used in the schools.
We started these solutions as computer-based applications. We’re moving them into the mobile and web platforms. The internet has always been a major challenge for us in Nigeria, but we thank God that broadband is gradually coming into the country. There’s no way you can position yourself without looking at the mobile strategies. Worldwide today, there are over six billion mobile devices – just one billion left from the number of the world population. So, power has left the lap, power is now in your hands. You should be able to give value on the go. We’ve already commissioned the project. It is now being developed. Aside from that, we are seeing how we can get the market ready. We want to create alliance with bigger platforms like Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc.
The Jim Ovia Foundation opportunity
There was a call from the foundation where over 5000 people turned up. We were one of the 13 shortlisted candidates. Only 5 eventually got selected for viable business idea – and we are number one. They saw a lot of opportunities in the idea and how we want to deliver it to the market. What also worked for us is the relevant of the idea to nation building and solving national issues. Our application was educational – empowering the next generation to be able to leverage on knowledge content – to be able to develop excellent abilities. It is called “Unified Learning Platform.” By January it would be live to enable students test themselves with it www.ulearn.com.ng. The mobile app will come much later in the year.
I would say this is a laudable and commendable innovation. Every true believer of the Nigerian dream should invest in things like this. Mr Jim Ovia demonstrated that he’s committed to the Nigerian vision. He made us understand that Nigeria helped him become who he is and all he can do is give back to Nigeria so that other people’s dream can come into reality.
Awareness so far
We are in development stage right now. Awareness is still strategic. Our first option is to be able to leverage on schools. Presently we have the database of all the federal government colleges in Nigeria, as well as direct contact of all the teachers in these 104 schools. We have alliance with some core schools like the Nigerian navy school, command secondary school, etc. We are also looking at making alliances with major churches nationwide.
My entrepreneurship journey
When I was in 300-level in the university, I had an “e-battle” (whether to become an entrepreneur or an employee). So, I prayed to God and got the conviction that entrepreneurship is my thing. It all started with God. That was the foundation. In my final year, about 11 months after that time, we started the company – on the 22nd of September 2007. We are five years old now. But I had to finish university and do my NYSC too. So we can say we have done two and a half years and it has been really exciting – from one victory point to another. We had really big challenges that came our way that at a point we didn’t know what to do. Should I go and get paid employment and leave this for other people to drive? But, as God would have it, we have positioned ourselves to the point of no return.
Advice for young Nigerians
You have to discover yourself. I won’t say everyone should become an entrepreneur. The first thing is self-discovery. Everyone owes themselves that responsibility. We are all loaded with potentials and possibilities. Young people have to develop themselves, and then believe in themselves. They also need to start small if they want to start anything at all. They shouldn’t wait for things to get well. The Holy Book says: “Despise not the day of little beginning.” And little is much when God is in it. Finally, they have to commit everything to God because that’s the only sustainable model I know. The big companies fail. Enron failed. Companies liquidate. Those that were popular before go under. Even the big Intercontinental Bank of yesterday – where is it today? For me, it’s not about trends; I think God should be the foundation for lasting success.