Henrich Akomolafe: The Youngprenuer Changing Infrastructural Development In Nigeria
Being recognized as one of the youths making a positive change in Africa at the age of 26 is no small feat. For Henrich Akomolafe, it is simply, sensational! However, that is just a scratch at his dream – to make Forbe’s billionaires list.
A graduate of Computer Engineering from the Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics, he obtained a Masters degree in Information Technology Strategic Management from Barcelona School of Management (BSM) – Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Spain. He also acquired both engineering and commercial experience in 2016 from MP Ascensores Sevilla, Spain where he served as an intern.
Akomolafe Henrich is the Managing Director of Akotex Nigeria LTD, a company with a business focus in the elevator & escalator industry, construction & real-estate as well as robotics and artificial intelligence.
You were introduced into the family business at the age of 8. How did an 8-year-old contribute to the business? And would you say it was that experience that got you interested in a business career?
Being introduced into business at the age of 8 was of essence but it is not a focal point. This is because interest in a domain develops as a child grows and could be terminated at any point if the appropriate support is not given. As a child, I had always had a flair for business and growing up in a family that supports me sparked it. My interest in a business career came as a product of an inherent affection for business and an enabling environment which is beyond the limits of money.
At 8 I knew there was less I could add to the business as it was not about adding value to the business rather it was about developing myself to have the right perspective so that I could later contribute immensely.
You assumed the position of the Managing director of Akotex Nigeria Limited in 2016 at a time Nigeria slipped into recession. How did you use that to your advantage?
Every entrepreneur is aware that entrepreneurship entails challenges and that quitting too fast might be regarded as failure. I was aware of these challenges and the aftermath of the recession which could affect our business since a decline in economic activities meant less spending which could translate to less building projects.
However, I also knew opportunities abound when the stocks are low, so I worked towards converting the challenges into opportunities for my business.
Elevators and escalators are not at the forefront when you think about infrastructural development. How did you convert this to a success?
This is inexact when we consider modern architecture where elevators and escalators have been important elements cutting across all building typologies and even private residences. In Nigeria there has been a growing awareness, for instance, the Nigerian government signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 which also specifies five years within which public buildings and automobiles are to be made accessible and usable for people with disabilities. In terms of not being at the forefront, I would like to consider the present challenges such as the cost due to importation, and secondly the absence of this specialization in Nigerian universities. Building an excellent service delivery has been the core of attaining success.