How I Started Keexs, The First Sneakers Brand in Africa – Babajide Ipaye

Hi Babajide, what’s your background, and what are you currently working on?

I’m Babajide Ipaye. I’m the Founder and CEO of Keexs; the first innovative and social footwear brand in Africa.

Babajide Ipaye
Babajide Ipaye
What motivated you to get started with Keexs?

I think one of the things that the stories don’t tell enough is the fact that I have been an entrepreneur for almost 10 years before I even started Keexs.

My last job was in Guinness where I worked in the Strategy and Change department, which is like the “thinking” arm of the business and that gave me a lot of exposure to world-class best practices because Guinness is a company that has been in existence for a long time and that means that they have been able to establish some standards across different parts of their business, and having worked in a department like Strategy and Change, it gave me a very wide view of how a business operates.

Let’s backtrack a little bit; I studied microbiology at the University of Lagos. I worked briefly in Port Harcourt in the oil and gas service industry for a while, and when I finished my NYSC because that’s where I did my service, I came back to Lagos and I did MCSE exams, these are Microsoft-type exams and that really threw me into the IT space.

By studying that, I got my first major job, working for a company called Tranter and they were the first Microsoft group partner in West Africa, so they outsourced me to Guinness, and other organizations.

While managing all their IT support in Guinness, an opportunity came up to work for them directly, so I took up the job, and that gave me a lot of exposure to world-class best practices as I mentioned earlier.

In 2005, I resigned, and then I started a tech company with a friend of mine, and I played in the tech space for the next 10 years as an entrepreneur and we were involved in a lot of services.

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