Linus Idahosa: Reinventing Nigeria’s Creative Industry
There is an undeniable disruption in Nigeria’s creative space that is heralding a new era of growth and innovation. It is the evident growth that has turned the country to a beacon, attracting creatives and investors from near and far.
At the forefront of this uprising is Linus Idahosa, the founder and CEO of Del-York Creative Academy. The self-proclaimed problem solver got his start at a security printing company but has since gone in a different direction and carved a niche for himself in media consultation.
Idahosa emphasises that he never really had any clearly outlined career paths but was rather drawn to systems that weren’t running at optimum efficiency because his true gift was problem-solving.
“Wherever I found myself, I would immediately identify what the gaps were and whatever job I was given to do, I would find the most creative ways of solving problems and moving things a lot forward.”
Due to his tenacity and drive to fix gaps, Idahosa went on to work on Inside Africa, a CNN project that required him to convince corporate organisations to advertise with the news network. Unbeknownst to him, this would go on to be a career-defining moment as he was able to smash the target of four companies and pull an outstanding 14 companies in three weeks.
He describes this feat as “a phenomenal achievement.”
“It opened my eyes to understanding the inner workings of corporate organisations and gave insight into the marketing and communication business.”
Filling a gap/Solving a problem
“Africa’s share in the global trade for creative products is still less than 3 per cent and at Del-York academy, this is the gap we intend to close”
Del-York International was founded because there was a rising need for local talents to be cultivated so as to provide a very much needed service and curb the menace of outsourcing jobs that could easily be executed here in Nigeria.
“Most of the creatives I worked with while with CNN were produced outside of Nigeria and some of our clients were spending thousands of dollars to shoot in studios in Paris and other places.”
It is no secret that the Nigerian creative and entertainment sector is extremely vibrant and productive but unfortunately, “despite being the third largest film industry in the world with booming music, fashion and film industries, the financial returns are still a far cry from what is attainable elsewhere,” Idahosa says.
His belief in the capacity of Nigerian creatives to produce an outstanding body of work came when he worked with students of the University of Lagos on a project for a Nigerian bank.
The project exposed to the students’ boundless energy and commitment to producing good content.
“That experience changed everything I understood about capacity building because I realised that these young guys just needed the right support and skill set to be able to compete with their peers outside of Nigeria.”
With this realisation, it made all the sense to study countries that have been able to develop vibrant creative industries and see how a partnership could be formed so that professionals could be brought back to Nigeria.
As such, while on a trip to the United States, he met with the president of the New York Film Academy and spoke to him about the possibilities and the vast potential that lay in Nigeria and her youth.
That meeting led to a 2010 visit and in 2011, 60 lecturers were flown into Nigeria from Los Angeles and New York marking the first point of contact between these professionals and the Nigerian creative scene.
“[The connection] helped broadcast journalists, advertisers, marketing and communication professionals to begin to mobilise their energies in a different direction and understand the technicalities that would help them compete internationally and market their creative product to the global market.”
After two partnerships with the New York Film Academy, Idahosa deemed it necessary for Del-York to be homegrown so strategic partnerships were formed with select individuals to birth the next generation of creatives and storytellers all across the country.
With Del-York, Idaho is focusing on “identifying creatives, aspiring and professional filmmakers, broadcast journalists and media practitioners across the country and get the right sponsorship for them so they can take part in the kind of training programs we run and they can better contribute to the growth of the creative industry.”
Grab a copy of today’s Guardian Newspaper to read all on this insightful interview with Del-York Academy’s founder, Linus Idahosa
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