Young, Black and Brilliant
Seun Oboite represents an emerging crop of young Black entrepreneurs that are combining talent, education and a fearlessness about entering the business world.
|Seun Oboite - founder of Checkmate Concevoir|
Even though the 21-year-old has yet to finish studying or gain long-term experience in the jobs market, he has already created his own company and is beginning to employ staff. Checkmate Concevoir, the events platform, only launched in November 2016 but already Seun is carving out a name for himself in Manchester and Guildford as the go-to man for digital events services.
Checkmate Concevoir is a small and more competitive equivalent of Ticketmaster, said Seun. It caters for companies hosting smaller events (between 50 - 1000 people) than Ticketmaster would consider and gives them tools to promote an organised event; seek sponsors and access valuable analytics and meta data through the sister brand Vivus.
His decision to develop the online platform came while he was at the University of Surrey in Guildford studying aerospace engineering.
"Typically, companies that want to organise events have to look for sponsorship,” said Seun. “But my service allows that to happen in a more tailored way. Potential sponsors have access to analytics and metrics about the company's social media footprint (Facebook and Twitter impressions) that can be used to tailor and make the sponsorship more effective. In exchange for sponsorship, organisers then promote the sponsors through social media channels.”
The platform then tracks the success of the event - how many tickets were sold, and the digital footprint of the event - and this data is used to build up a profile of the events company if they choose to use the Checkmate Concevoir service in the future.
“I know there is an assumption that becoming an entrepreneur is attractive because you become your own boss but even as an entrepreneur you are still accountable to your investors and your clients. It is for this reason that having a strong work ethic is even more important.”
Although some of Seun’s business was self funded, he has benefitted from third-party investment and received funding after winning a young enterprise award competition towards the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017.
From study to business
Seun has drawn on his academic experiences in computer science and aerospace engineering; his personal interest in web programming, and a wish to leave his imprint on the world to build his business.
He recently developed software that will allow his staff members, who work remotely, to clock in and out, and measure their daily performance.
"I work part time for Amazon in their warehouse department and was inspired to develop a staff tracking system similar to what they use to boost staff productivity,” he said.
|caption: This chart shows the number of estimated views for events booked in 2017|
He also prides himself in his use of time. As well as working at Amazon, he dedicates up to six hours a day on improving Checkmate Concevoir , and travels between his home city of Manchester, Guildford and London securing business leads.
"I get about one or two hours' sleep a night," said Seun, who before meeting me in London had been travelling across England and was due to return to Manchester that night and start a shift at Amazon!!
"I believe that in life you can attain three things - success, enjoyment and health - but there is always a trade off.
At the moment I have some success through the business, I am still enjoying life but my health, through lack of sleep, is suffering a little,” he said.
Passion for brilliance
It is this dedication to building strong foundations for the business that convinced Seun to take a year out from continuing his studies. He plans to start his MSc in Business Analysis and Strategic Management at Manchester University later this year.
In the meantime, he is working to release an app for the platform this summer, and has a longer-term goal to extend the business into other events-related service areas.
Leonardo da Vinci
Seun’s ambition is evident in his choice of business name and penchant for the Romance languages. Checkmate Concevoir means winning with design. It is inspired by the exclamation ‘checkmate’ associated with a winning chess move and the French word ‘concevoir’ for design, while Vivus means life in Latin.
His drive to succeed is spurred on by his desire to become a legend and be better than his mentor Leonardo da Vinci.
“He was someone who was accomplished many fields, including technical drawing and had an appreciation of physics, and aerodynamics – skills I also have. I see him as my mentor but also someone I would want to emulate, and for that reason and want to push myself further.”
Be your best
His advice to other young entrepreneurs is the simple. Don't be shy about what you've created. Even if it is not at the stage your want it to be – develop your minimum viable product (MVP) – and just get it out there so that public feedback can help to shape it and make it an even better product.”