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'So Fraiche' entrepreneurs dream big

FULLY FOCUSED: Cyril Ofori Nelson (left) and Gerald Sagoe

IMAGINE BEING a recent graduate and quickly becoming the managing director of your own in-demand media company.

That is the reality for 26-year-olds Cyril Ofori Nelson and Gerald Sagoe who co-founded the visual media agency, So Fraiche Media in 2011 after struggling to secure the ideal job in a highly competitive industry.

Within its first year, So Fraiche Media was able to secure clients that included Telefonica O2 UK, Nike, Microsoft, ASOS, and Virgin among other high-profile brands.

The company specialises in helping companies reach Generation Y (18 to 29-year-olds) through consumer content such as videos, photography, websites and 3D animation services.

In a short space of time, the company has evolved into a media agency and recently launched its own magazine - So Fraiche! - and has even created a multi-purpose mobile phone and tablet app at The Hospital Club, in central London.

Nelson explained: “The magazine is a compilation of entrepreneurs, business advice, fashion and culture information about So Fraiche and all the amazing creatives we have worked with. And the 1.0 version is an app with a QR code, so if you don’t want to read the magazine, you can watch the videos.”

Ironically, south London-born Nelson, who studied international and business management at the University of Wolverhampton, told The Voice he had not set out to be an entrepreneur.

“It was almost like the opportunity came about. Gerald Sagoe [whom he met via a social media platform] had links into the film and TV industry and it just made sense. It was more of an opportunity to start a business rather than a plan,” he explained.

OPPORTUNITY

In 2012, Nelson was one of the 1,500 graduates who applied for the Virgin Media Pioneer project.

He was shortlisted to undertake a four-month paid internship at William Morris Endeavour Entertainment.

He said: “I got to work with the senior management team, which gave me a great understanding of how to run a business. It was a great educational tool, and for them to become a client under a year later was a real progress.

“The difference between us and the majority of start-ups is that we have a lot of mentors pointing us in the right direction.

"One is the director of Virgin Investment, from my old job, which is so ironic, and the other is the president of equity at Barclays."

Explaining the importance of mentors, he continued: “It means you’re not really nervous because you have people who know about making business and money to help you succeed. So for you to not succeed is almost impossible.”

In the future, Nelson would like the company to be an “established media agency” and is currently looking for investors.

On inspiring others, he said: “You are definitely facing an uphill struggle in starting a business in the media industry where you are going to suffer from all kinds of discrimination.”

However he added: “You can’t let those setbacks hinder your progression. When something is going wrong make sure you celebrate it because during the bad times you can look back at the good times and it will motivate you to carry on.”

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