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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SMIDS animation studios - Damilola Sobowale #inthespiritofenterprise

Let me start by wishing all our Muslim brothers a Eid-Mubarak. It's raining ram meat across Nigeria, don't miss out on yours. Hehe.


At a business plan presentation for indi-africa a couple of months ago, I met some interesting entrepreneurs. Damilola was one of them. I remember introducing myself and asking her what business she was into. When she said "animation", for a second, I thought I didn't hear her right; Pardon? People do that in Nigeria? I mean almost every and any animation video or advert for that matter is done in South Africa or some place else. Why do we not use our own? It is only in practicing that anybody gets better. I remember looking at her and thinking, what a brave girl, maybe not #Malala of Pakistan kind of brave, but brave.

Here's her sharing her story.


Tell us about yourself 

My name is Damilola Sobowale, I studied computer science at Bowen university, Nigeria. I have always loved animation from childhood, I loved playing video games, I even thought I would end up being a game programmer. However I came across Pixar movies – computer animated movies when I was in ss2. I fell in love with the whole concept and decided to build a career in computer animation. This is why I went in for computer science in Bowen as that was the closest option available in Nigeria at the time. To develop myself, I started to take online courses in computer animation.

What has the experience been so far?

The journey has been challenging, first of all it is highly capital intensive, secondly it’s a fairly new industry in Nigeria and not a lot of people appreciate and understand it. Upon completing my NYSC, I was sure that I wanted to start an animation studio. I had saved up all my NYSC allowance so I registered the company as smids animation studios in 2010.

Getting clients was quite a challenge and for a year and a half we were basically doing free jobs. People didn't believe good animation jobs could be done in Nigeria.  Just when we were about to give up, we got our first paying client. This was a great source of encouragement for me and the team. It kept us going.

This is not to say there are still no challenges, but we face them as they come. Financing for the first few years was mainly from my personal savings (all of it!) as well as from family and friends. Recently we got a grant that will help take us to the next level. 

Where do you see the business going?

At some point we realized we were spending time and resources trying to convince clients to try us and this wasn't working. We decided to  let go of fear and redirect our focus into creating our own products. We are working on a short film that would be out soon, as well as a TV series.

We have a vision of being one of the names to be mentioned in Africa when it comes to animation. We dream that one day we’ll even win an Oscar. We want to be an academy award winning animation studio. 

I dare you to try Smids Animation studios by reaching them via any of these;


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Happy feasting!!