Facebook might not be considered the best place to launch a business, but that may not mean it’s impossible to do. Even starting out with a small page, posting things without any concrete vision in mind, could miraculously lead to amazing things. That’s exactly what happened in the case of Babajide Alao. When his Facebook page started gaining traction, he came up with an idea, which eventually lead to the development of his non-profit media company, DaugembassyTV. Now he’s leading the development of a new branch of his company, DAC Studio, all of which wouldn’t have been possible without that original Facebook page.
How did he do it? We caught up with Babajide to find out.
Could you tell us more about yourself? What’s your backstory? What inspired you?
My name is Babajide Alao and I am a creator. Growing up as a kid in the late 80s and early 90s, I could recall how we’d scramble over who would get the TV remote just to watch our favorite cartoon channels. Our parents were more inclined towards news channels and recent events within Nigeria and across the globe. Staying informed meant a lot to my parents. The year 2018 forged moments in our history today, at a time when most young Nigerians were clamoring for self-determination, freedom and human rights. DaugembassyTV offered an alt-media platform where conversations were elevated to critical thinking, ensuring a paradigm shift in the thought process of the average African. So, we became the voice of the silenced. Although, with most of our ideas we were able to draw some inspiration from unique individuals who have also paved similar pathways to building successful alt-media platforms. One I recall clearly is Sahara Reporters TV.
Tell me about your team. How did you all come together to start the company? Was there a big Avengers moment where you all decided to unite?
(laughs) Well, there’s this popular quote that my mother would say. “None of us, including me, ever do great things, but we can all do small things with great love, and together we can do wonderful things.” This is very similar to what Mother Teresa has said. I can recall clearly the day we started DaugembassyTV, June 28th 2018. My late friend Chuchu and I would discuss and deliberate on many topics, such as young Africans, progressive development programs, African solutions by Africans, leveraging technologies to advance the African human development index. So, it was imperative for us to bring this conversation to our peers, to spark new hope in young people and rebuild a nation we can all be proud of. Now, the passing away of my friend Chuchu on January 13th 2020 opened a new chapter and interest from diverse individuals looking to support our growing vision. As of 2018, the vast majority of Nigerians were young people with little to no representation in the political space, and we knew this had to change. That’s how the team came together.
You write news articles on your company’s website. Are you a journalist or is that just a fun side project?
People think I have superpowers. (laughs). Like most journalists, media personalities, activists or entrepreneurs. Some believe that I possess special abilities and talents, but I believe in spending time with great people and creating things that matter. Journalism is a sacred profession most people uphold with honor and pride, and someday I hope to carry on that pride as well. However, as of now I’m simply learning the ropes and applying my findings to new world engagements.
What would you say is the most successful initiative your organization has had so far? What is your magnum opus? The one you’re most proud of?
Since our very first day, we’ve been surprised how DaugembassyTV received massive support from viewers around the globe. In November 2018, we had an organic reach of 2.1 million and over 436,000 engagements between October 31st and November 27th 2018.
December 8th 2018 we were already at 12,000 likes and followers on our Facebook page. We’ve rolled out some unique initiatives while supporting other programs organized by partners. The most unique experience for me was a story of two former inmates that we helped start life anew. Watching how those two individuals took meaningful steps, not only for themselves but to build a better society, showed us how much more impact each person is able to offer.
So? How did you do it? How did you raise $150,000 starting from a Facebook page?
So, for one I can assure you that it didn’t come easy, neither was it a lump sum victory. When we created our Facebook page, we didn’t think too much of it, other than recognizing that the platform was for the people, by the people and of the people. It was all about making the lives of our audience better. It wasn’t long after we reached 12k following that it dawned on us how impactful our activities had been on the political and economic space of our audience. It was at this point we knew things had to be more serious. So, we incorporated federally in Canada as a non-profit organization in December 2018 and kept pushing on the battlefield of 2020, the year that broke the yolk. Our organization was selected in a grant application to build DAC Studio and we won a total of 89,000 dollars. We were also lucky to be selected for the Canada Summer Job Program and locked in another grant of 72,000 dollars making it a total of $161,000 in solicited grants. For us, this is just the beginning of great things.
What’s the deal with DAC Studio? How do they fit your vision?
DAC Studio will continue the work that we’ve done so far with DaugembassyTV with a more focused purpose, providing more high-level opportunities for Black African communities as we help them develop language and tech skills that could improve anyone’s life in Canada and beyond. With DAC Studio, the purpose is to allow African people and those who are language deficient, either in English or French, to come together and design a home with their own personal missions. So, their goal might be anything; to improve on language, maybe to improve on developing some technology skills, for example right now we’re working on some animations. So, we want to be able to help people have some technological skills on their resumes. No matter whatever their specific desires are, our intention is to have DAC Studio.
What are you looking forward to in the future for your company?
We’ve accomplished so much beyond our imagination since 2018, and as such we’ve developed strong faith in greater accomplishments for the future. Our goal is to continue engaging Africans and changing the world one head at a time, through innovations, creativity, and quintessential ideas. We’ve begun production of educational content, as I mentioned earlier, that engages children at an early age. Our goal is to catch them young.