Vincent Uche Olekanma is a graduate of applied geophysics from the University of Calabar. his hobbies are mostly doing research with his phone on new decoration designs and happenings in event world.
Hi Vincent, thanks for granting this interview. What inspires you? My background inspires me, it wasn’t easy growing up after the demise of my father, so upholding his legacy of hard-work and honesty pays, and also taking care of my mum who took the boldness to train six of us, seeing her smiles, happy and enjoying the fruit of her labor inspires me even more.
Why did you go into business? After my father’s death, I thought of relieving my mom of the burden of caring for us alone, so I went in search of a job and got one as a sales representative at a boutique. This was my first exposure to business, my mom wasn’t happy but i insisted.
My thought and mindset changed totally, i decided i was going to have a business of my own and not work for anyone again. The stress graduates go through before getting a job or not even being able to get a job fueled my determination in going into business.
My boss at the boutique liked me to the extent of taking me in to live in his house and staying with him made me develop an interest in even decoration because i always followed him to decorate the church. We decorated wedding venues together, little did i know it will become a professional business for me.
In 2012, I went officially into the decoration business on my own. In 2014, i went to an event management school where i obtained a certificate as a professional, which also gave birth to the company name “Cent_right Decorations and event management” popularly known as CDEM.
How have progress being so far? It wasn’t easy at first because i started in a state that already had some big names in the business so breaking through was difficult but thank God i did. Language was also a major hindrance, I am igbo and can’t peak Efik or the Ibibio languages which was widely spoken in Calabar.
There was also the issue of capital, there were times i borrowed money to complete jobs, the beginning was filled with challenges but we scaled through. We are not there yet, but we sure are not were we started. We can now boost of working in major states in Nigeria, the company still runs its office in Calabar where we started and another in Abuja where I am presently. It’s being an interesting journey filled with experiences.
What are your future plans? To go global in the shortest possible time, get a second degree and become a household name so that when event companies are mentioned in Nigeria, we would be among the first three names that comes to mind. There is also a plan to build our own event center to host all kinds of events.