He made his first million naira at age 17, lost it and by the time he was 19, he was worth a whopping 30 million naira! This is not a tale of MMM or other such get-rich-quick Ponzi schemes. It is the story of a young man who’s focused, determined and consistent in pursuing his dreams. This is the story of Isima Odeh.
He’s an entrepreneur, publicist, researcher, columnist and blogger and the founder of Africa Facts Zone. Odeh, at age 12, at a time most of his contemporaries where still stuck to their mothers’ apron, discovered the Social Media app Facebook and was immediately struck by the limitless opportunity it offered to connect with millions of other users across the world.
However, while others saw the fun in using the application for games, our young genius saw the business opportunities and interrogated himself on how best to make the best use of it.
This was a no-brainer, given his antecedents. By the age of 10, he was already engaged in business, renting out books in his library to friends and classmates at the rate of 10 naira and he made a tidy sum of money from the venture.
“My first business attempt was made when I started renting books in my library aged 10. My sister found out and made me stop. I’ve always been active in business, from renting books out to researching to working on growing my brands online to organizing shows to online publicity,” he told a blog.
“I first gained access to Facebook in 2009, and immediately I joined, I knew I wanted to make an impact on Social Media that would be felt worldwide one way or the other. I was a huge Ben 10 and wrestling fan as a child so that’s what I wrote about then. I created a wrestling group and page. That was when I started to fantasize about sharing information online to a large audience and I achieved that.”
Why Africa Facts Zone?
In June 2013, at the age of 16, he founded Africa Facts Zone which has become Africa’s biggest facts brand and arguably the world’s most up-to-date facts platform.
Starting Africa facts Zone, Odeh claimed, was borne out of his desire to create a platform for sharing intriguing facts about Africa and Africans and, while it had a slow start – the account he uses to tweet was created in 2009 but didn’t become active until 2012 – it has grown phenomenally in the last five years to place him as one of Nigeria’s foremost online personalities.
“We first began as Nigerian Celebrities Facts. People demanded that we cover more, so we upgraded to Nigeria Facts and we still saw the need to expand our horizon and that was when Africa Facts Zone was born. The idea of AFZ came to me in July 2013 and yes some people were against it, out of ignorance. I created Africa Facts Zone to share refreshing facts about Africa and Africans in a modernised way. Before Africa Facts Zone was created, I was a Blogger, known as the “Blogger of Life” to my blog readers on isimaodeh.wordpress.com.”
Africa’s Facts Zone’s Twitter handle is @AfricaFactsZone and the Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Africafactszone
Odeh has faced personal and professional challenges and it is a testimony to his indomitable spirit that he was able to drag himself back from the abyss of depression when he lost his first million naira in an investment which went south to become owner of one of the world’s biggest and most respected platforms.
As if losing his money was not tragic enough, Odeh organized a concert but it flopped totally. Other investments bounced and he lost everything he’d ever worked for. He walked from being the guy with a million naira in his account to being the penniless dude. He went from sky-high to rock bottom within the twinkle of an eye.
Naturally he fell into depression going through what he described as “a very tough time for me. I don’t know how I made it through.”
But he got through it. He immersed himself in what he knows how to do best: research. He doubled his effort because, he reasoned, if he could make it before then it was possible to make it all again. And, like the comeback kid that he truly is, he did it in style.
On a professional level, he considers the lack of steady power supply and expensive internet connections as two challenges militating against his line of business.
The rewards have been quick in coming for both Odeh and his brand. He was nominated for the award for Online Personality of the Year at the 2016 UGossip Digital Awards; Information from Africa Facts Zone has been featured by National Radio station of Belgium Radio 1 Belgium; In 2016 Odeh was recognized in the list of “Top 10 Most Influential Young Nigerian Twitter Personalities Under 30” and was also acknowledged as one in “Seven Young Nigerian Online Personalities You Should Know”.
He has endorsements with Pashi Group of the United Kingdom for his Africa Facts Zone’s visuals and is a brand ambassador of Pulse and Gistr. Africa Facts Zone has also been recognized by The Punch, Radio 1 Belgium, BBC’s Pri The World, Global voices, NTA and more.
Life motivates Odeh. He said:
“Life keeps me going, because when there’s life, there’s hope. I have faced so many challenges in life and even doubted myself at times, but I eventually overcame them.”
Next Ten Years?
Odeh sees himself being world-renowned and having a well respected top global company in Africa Facts Zone and Top Notch Publicity. Doubt him at your peril.
Odeh’s Advice to Young People…
My advice is this: life is in phases and stages, it obeys the law of turn by turn. Time and chance happens to everyone but make sure you make the best of it, because opportunity like they say comes but once. Consistency in entrepreneurship involves endless innovation, creativity and adaptation. You have to always be able to adapt and change with the times. It would be unwise for you to use the same set of methods, strategies and techniques in Entrepreneurship forever. You should know when to substitute one for the other. Never stop learning.
Mr Nice Guy…
Odeh was born on March 7th, 1997 in Warri, Delta State but he’s from the ancient Benin City, Edo State. The last of three children, he attended Charity Group of Schools in Salem City, Warri. The 21-year old prodigy reckons he’s smart, informed and nice.
Despite working in the spotlight, he cherishes his privacy and claims not to be interested in material things. And, of course, he loves jollof rice, plantain and chicken.