In an era where access to mobile phones and gadgets were limited especially for children, Kevin now popularly known as Kevin Eze was able to discover and develop his love for tech at an early age of 12. Today he is a Tech Enthusiast, Serial Entrepreneur, Brand Strategist and Digital Marketer. He founded African Food Network, a popular online recipe directory for African Food with millions of followers grossly on social media. He also teaches digital marketing with the better part of his portfolio filled with works with popular musicians and entertainment creatives. After a conversation with him, I will point out how he got here, his entrepreneurship journey, phases of the hustle, and strategic thinking on his journey toward creating Africa’s Biggest Online Food Company and redefining the world’s view on African cuisines through African Food Network.
Classic life of a nerd
Growing up in a strict household and spending most of his time at home or school Kevin found solace in gadgets and books. With access to his parents and relatives’ phones, he got introduced to the internet at that tender age and started learning how to code, tweak things on phones till he became the popular tech kid in the block. Back then, most friends go to him to help them fix or build one thing or the other. With no formal computer training depending solely on knowledge obtained by e-learning, Kevin started building websites and apps from the age 14.
The Entrepreneurship Journey
His guiding principle is to always be intentional at all times. In times of conscious thinking, he always applies intentional approach to everything he does to maximize strategic positioning. With nothing but a dream to be on Forbes list someday, Kevin started his entrepreneurship journey at a tender age. During the era of Java/Symbian devices and peak of free browsing cheats; Kevin was the go-to guy in his neighbourhood for any tech related issue. He built his first website in the year 2008 and started his career as a freelance web developer and digital marketing. Kevin has always been a Pan-African entrepreneur who always love to put more of Africa’s content on the global community. He became more motivated to promote African food and culture after a couple of incidence which occurred in some of his international trips. He believes the image of Africa is dented due to the bad PR done and unavailability of positive African content in the international media. This spurned him into building a food blog in 2009 dedicated towards promoting African foods, which was short-lived due to lack of consistency and support. He wanted to give back to the African community in the little way he could, and this prompted him to rebuild and rebrand into a bigger platform in 2017 amidst different hurdles.
Phases of The Hustle
Kevin has had his fair share of phases in life, ups, downs, highs, and lows but all those have become a part of his story. With his first site crashing in 2010 due to the activities and traffic on it. He was left stranded as he could not do anything to salvage the situation. He recalls when he contacted the hosting company, they said their generator went off unexpectedly. “Life really comes at you fast” he says recounting the amount of money, time, and resources he lost from that singular occurrence. The site was down for over a week but in internet time that is enough for people to move on to the next best thing. With the level of relevance and recognition they had lost, this incident made him start from scratch.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade right? With all that behind him, he moved on to co-own the defunct top entertainment website “NaijaXclusive” with his long-time friend and partner in 2010. In less than 3 years it became one of the fastest growing websites because of its ability to make news go viral, which exposed him to many creatives then because they were featured on the platform. This gave him a lot of exposure in the entertainment industry with over half a million fans and millions of hits monthly. As expected, the recognitions and awards started rolling in. He was awarded Gurus-lodge Young Java genius of the year (2010), He was nominated for the Under 30s achievers award in 2013 and was also recognized then as one of the top 3 Igbo male bloggers.
Jason Fell says “letting go is at once one of the hardest and best things I’ve ever done.” One trait of successful entrepreneurs is knowing when to let go. Managing a website and staff in addition to his education was a daunting task for Kevin and his friend. Rather than watch what the built decline into nothing, they took a painful decision to shut “NaijaXclusive” down in 2015.
Although Consistency is a major challenge in the tech world, it is rather a lifestyle and a motivation to Kevin. “Be consistent, do not be a jack of all trade” he tells us. Having the technical know-how and digital marketing background, he saw a gold mine in digital promotions as most people find it tasking to promote their brands, even in businesses. This venture solidified and grounded him as a Tech Entrepreneur. He started consulting and helping brands grow digitally while running his side hustle as a freelancer and web designer. His major portfolio includes top Afrobeats artists and Entertainment Industry Creatives. He started working in house with a couple of labels because his services was quite unique. When he discovered that his team were being short-changed and were not getting the credits because they did not have a brand. He decided to create Beta Socials, Beta Promotions & Beta Creatives to promote brands the Digital way all under “The Beta Group” managed by “IconPlus Africa”.
African Food Network
Not alien to failed business ventures, after his 2009/2010 failed attempts at food blogging, he launched African Food Network in 2017, a brand that started off on social media as a platform that promotes African cuisine, Chefs and Traditional Cooks. “African Food Network is more than a brand or business for me. It’s a movement and as long as Africa continues to exist, the brand would grow alongside it” he said. African Food Network is an online recipe directory for African Foods, recipes are sourced from different food authors, bloggers and chefs across the globe. It currently has close to a million fan base and thousands of daily visitors on the website and app. Kevin believes African across the world has been short changed over the years and fragments of our history and culture been erased every day due to the western world influence and neglect of the younger generation, this inspired him to create African Food Network to redefine the world’s view of African cuisines and make such information readily available for generations to come.
With a master’s degree in-sight, Kevin is a graduate of Project Engineering and holds a diploma in Strategic Management from IBMI Berlin, Germany. He is a full believer in the growth and impact of Africa in global civilization, science & technology. You should check out his social media handles where he post daily Digital Marketing tips and documents his entrepreneurship journey.
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