Daniel Olasantan, is a brand growth consultant, writer, public speaker and a landscape architect. He is the Co-founder of Lightsquad Karts, a pioneer Kart manufacturing company in Nigeria whose operation is targeted at providing a platform for robust experience as regards recreation, amusement and positive youth involvement. This brilliant young man obtained his first degree in Biochemistry from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and later went for his Masters degree at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- ife. His passion for innovation is amazing and this is a precursor to inspiration for him and his brother to manufacture the first ever indigenous go-karts in Nigeria. He also owns a landscaping outfit where he renders excellent service with professional touch. In this interview, Daniel shared his experience and motivation as an entrepreneur. Wole Olajide brings you excerpts.
What is the nature of your business?
LIGHTSQUAD KARTS was birthed to continuously create a platform for positive youth involvement with the vision to drive and expand the frontiers of recreation, leisure and entertainment in Nigeria and Africa, providing an adrenalized sport and a richer experience for fun seekers and corporate organisations. As you see in Nigeria, sports has been experiencing a continuous decline over the years and there is no obvious representation of sports tourism especially motor sports leading to a dearth of fun activities you can really afford and access. Go around and you’ll see that going for a recreation experience in an average park is very expensive; this is obviously a direct link to the cost incurred to import and install the equipment or machines you use. So we’re losing substantial revenue in this aspect as a country.
If we look at our music, festivals, movies, arts, success recorded by the ever sustainable and effortlessly growing entertainment industry, you’d agree with us that we as Africans have the entertainment gene in our system.
So what we do is we manufacture the first ever indigenous go-karts in Nigeria. Since karting is a relatively new business here, we are also involved in consultancy, design and construction of race tracks. We as well do offer maintenance services on our karts and sale of parts and accessories, race gear and driver equipment. We constantly offer training and involve our team in service delivery and regular maintenance of our client’s tracks in order to ensure safety of end users and our product.
Who are your target customers?
Our target customer segment includes every Nigerian that resides in any metropolis and enjoys having fun as a form of relaxation. Our market is primarily targeted at the Nigerian youths within the age brackets of 15 to 40 years. This practically represents over 90 million of the Nigerian population. The eventual goal is to make recreation accessible to all and sundry.
What is your motivation as an entrepreneur?
Growing up, two things that stand out are that I have always been fascinated with having a serene environment and bridging the gap between nature and technology. I have also been relentlessly passionate about contributing into the society and I derive pleasure in solving challenges and bringing smiles on people’s faces. Since youths are easily attracted to adrenaline-throbbing form of sports, kart racing will capture young minds early, place them on the path to a thriving racing career, channel their exuberance aright, stem down unhealthy societal vices, and create opportunities for positive social engagement.
What were the challenges you experienced at the initial stage as an entrepreneur?
There were challenges from the very onset of the business. You know the interesting thing is that Nigerian business terrain is a peculiar one, where you have to really understand your environment. There was the obvious challenge of scarcity of materials needed for the manufacture of our product. We had to source for local and alternative sources to maintain constant supply and over the years we do produce these intricate parts in-house. There was the general challenge with power, skilled manpower but those were seen as opportunities for improvement.
How did you overcome those challenges?
True, we had challenges at every stage of the business, even as I speak with you. For instance we had issues with artisans that we worked with us in sustaining excellence, for that is a strange value to them, but for our assertiveness, consistency and will to maintain standard. That stands us out and reflects in our product. But that is almost a second nature now. Challenges will always come but we have to bring to bare our values and stick to them no matter what.
How can young people improve on themselves?
The room for improvement is the biggest room in this world and it is one that never gets filled. So as youths we have the age advantage, the vive and we can afford to take risks. Persistence is key to your success. As Calvin Coolidge said, paraphrased in my words though, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence; talent will not, genius will not, education will not. Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”. So you have to surround yourself with people with like minds, people that you look forward to and follow up closely with your mentors. Don’t ever let your passion wane. When you fail, make sure you fail forward, when you goof, learn fast from your mistakes, and just keep going. Also, you’ve just got to be a reader! We have almost all we need to improve ourselves at the palm of our hands now via our smartphones. Finally, to have an edge on any competitor, continuous improvement is a value you should maintain always.
Daniel Olasantan can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Facebook: Olasantan Olasiji Daniel