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It’s a wrap for Folake

PASSIONATE: Folake Balogun

FOLAKE BALOGUN grew up with her mother, who she describes as a strong, determined woman who is ‘resilient and always kicks down hurdles that threaten to stop her achieving her entrepreneurial goals’.

It was this determination that put her siblings through university and motivated her to become an entrepreneur in her own right.

Folake studied human resources management at London Met and upon graduation she experienced relative success in the corporate world in project management and communication strategy roles.

But she admits her heart was not in it, and although she supported her partner on a part time basis in a film production company, she decided that she wanted to set up her own company and returned to London Met to help accelerate her personal business goals.

“I just got sucked up in the corporate mentality but it was not satisfying for me, no matter how well I was doing with my career,” she explains.

“When you work for others you are caught up in red tape rather than helping people. Self employment was in my blood. I wanted to create jobs for other people; provide working conditions that were fair and flexible and make a difference in my community. More importantly, I wanted the choice to help the people I wanted to help rather than being told who to help.”

WDF Productions was set up in 2008 and their philosophy is simple. They use film and media to help companies engage and get results with their clients through the use of business advertising. “In the past we worked on producing documentaries, dramas and full length productions,” explains Folake. “Now we offer bespoke packages for businesses to help them to promote and attract new customers using social media platforms. From concept to marketing package – we create a story and a buzz and put it on high quality film!”

As well as using savings, Folake says London Met provided financial support and strategic direction so they could get a foot in the media market place at the right level and be taken seriously as professionals.

“It’s not only about having the skills to deliver, it’s about having the exposure which is vital for the success of the company,” she explains. “It’s about having the right tools for profitable and sustainable exposure.”

PACKAGE

“Without them we would not have been able to start the company because they gave us the leverage to kick start my dream,” she says. “The business support package is second to none. We now have a website with the right content, an office where customers and clients can come to do business, networking opportunities to extend our brand, and more importantly, the support has given me the confidence and belief to compete at the right level.”

You would think that this has been an easy fast track for WDF, but Folake is clear that running a business is hard work. “By being based at the Accelerator, we are supported by other entrepreneurs and business owners that have given us the belief that we can succeed,” she continues.

“Business success is more realistic when you see entrepreneurs at different stages committed to not only their success but also supporting yours. It’s a great feeling!” And even at this stage WDF Productions is giving back. They run an intern scheme which gives people the opportunities not easily available in the mainstream creative sectors.

“I enjoy teaching them the skills that will help them get better jobs in the future,” says Folake. “It’s hard enough to break down the barriers in the creative sector for the average person, so I am passionate about empowering young ethnic minority girls to give them the confidence and skills to give them the competitive edge.”

CHALLENGES

Although there are schemes for companies like WDF to apply for funding, Folake believes the competition is so fierce it’s hard to benefit. “The support comes with fierce challenges because it’s such a specialist area and experts and professionals are not offering this service for free,” she explains.

“It’s difficult to navigate the system if you don’t have the contacts or finances. This is where London Met has been most useful in helping to minimise these challenges so that we can get on with the creative side of the business, which is where we will make the greatest impact in the market place.”

Over the next five years Folake wants WDF be one of the top 100 production companies in the UK.

“My mantra for success is: impossible is nothing!” she concludes. “I don’t believe in impossible because everything can be achieved if you want it. It’s about taking action and believing in yourself that you will succeed. That’s not too much to ask, is it really?”

* For further information visit www.wdf productions.co.uk

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