“Writing Has Always Been A Childhood Dream” Meet Julie Ako, CEO Albantsho

If you’re finding it difficult to find your passion and stick with it, Julie’s story can be an inspiration for you. Her story is one that gives insight into various ways you can simply define a clear career path for yourself without having to fail at so many things!

Julie is definitely amongst the category of people that found what they love and stuck with it till it became a source of motivation to make an impact on the world at large. She is the founder of Albantsho.


Who is Julie Ako?

Have you ever been raised by scholars before? Girl, that experience charges up your mindset! My father, was in the science field while my mum was in art, literature to be precise and they always pushed me to do better at everything.

My mum passed down her love for literature to me. She taught me the figures of speech and I just found myself connecting to these teachings without any difficulty. That was when my love for writing started manifesting.

My passion for writing grew to the point where I started writing for magazines, various stage plays and even screenwriting. Back in school, I made it a commitment to learning more about the process of screenwriting to improve what I already knew.

Series of writing and growing and before I knew it, my first screenplay was ready. It was so good that I sold it to Africa Magic. I was super excited. That was how the screenwriting journey began.

What ignited the spark to start Albantsho?

The name Albantsho was derived from the Nigerian word Albasa which means ‘Onion’ and ‘Ntsho’ a Setswana word for ‘Black.’ Albantsho means Black onions. We gave it that name because it represents the different layers of writers and storytelling across Africa.

Before I dive into details of the business and everything it represents, I won’t be saying the story the right way if I didn’t make reference to how it actually started.

After school, I got the opportunity to study film and television production with Multichoice talent factory where I met a lot of likeminded people that complemented my love for screenwriting. That was where I just had to own up to it and tell myself that this is where I want to be. This is where I see myself in a few years.

 

One of Julie’s productions, Ajeji

Being with people from different cultures created an artistic feeling around everything we did. It wasn’t until this point that we realized how much influence we had on each other. We couldn’t let that fire go to waste. We felt that other African writers deserved an opportunity collaborate with other African writers, get feedback about their works, help each other grow and create a transnational network that is capable of standing the test of time.

Nothing is as beautiful as African stories being told by Africans for Africans. The fact that we’re beginning to own up to who we truly are is more than a driving force. We might not be at the forefront of this switch but knowing that we’re contributing to it is more than enough.

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

I think startups face more challenges than established businesses because the initial phase of a business determines the pace at which the business moves and operates.

One major challenge is trying to communicate to dream of this project to other writers. Not every writer can see what we see. Sometimes, we have to pass the message in different ways just to ensure that they have an idea of what our focus is.

There have been other business challenges like understanding the niche we operate in and how to make it work for us, streamlining long and short term goals and being able to efficiently communicate with my business partner who resides in Botswana. With all these, we still come out stronger each day.

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I’ve learnt so much already. This one is for everyone that’s either currently running or thinking of starting a business.

  • Plan accordingly. Most of us hear this particular point over and over but we never actually focus on it.
  • Clearly identify your goals. Your long and short time goals have to be outlined.
  • Teamwork is beautiful. It’s practically normal to experience a clash of ideas and perspectives, what you have to do is remind yourself that every team member is after the progress of the business too. Once you bear this in mind, there are no limits!

 

Julie is a participant in the High Growth Coaching Program 2020. You can join her and many other writers interested in screenwriting for film and television on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

About She Leads Africa

She Leads Africa is a community for smart and ambitious young African women. Our goal is to become the #1 digital destination for young women looking to build successful careers and businesses.

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