CN: How did you come about the name Broad Street PR & Events?
AK: My cousin and I were in her living room sitting on the floor trying to come up with a name. We thought about where I came from and where my mother came from and major areas, or streets in those places. There is a Broad Street in every major city and its always a major roadway where a lot of activity happens. I then thought about what my mission was…I want to create activity for my clients, exposure, have them do things on a major or “BROAD” scale. So we decided to go with Broad Street…it tied together the place where I was from, where my mother was from, and what I want out of this company.
CN: What does your company do and how does it solve people’s problems?
AK: My company does a bit of everything. I initially wanted to just do event planning, but I went to school for public relations so I decided to have a company that planned events and then publicized those events. Soon, people wanted me to do PR for more than just their events. I went on to start doing consulting and corporate training based on my experience in the hospitality industry and my partners’ experience in human resource management. I have been recently doing consulting with government agencies and non profits both in America and in Nigeria.
CN: Where was the idea for Broad Street PR & Events birthed?
AK: The idea for Broad Street PR & Events was birthed out of frustration over losing my job at the biopharmaceutical company. I was unemployed and bills were piling up. So I thought about what I liked to do and how I could make money out of it. And that was how I decided to start my event planning business that spiraled into what it is now.
CN: Are your services easy to market?
AK: Because I work in two very different markets, (America and Nigeria) it can be somewhat of a challenge to market my services properly. Only because marketing is still very traditional in Nigeria and more digital in America. I think I have a handle on it now after years of mastering it.
CN: What would you term as your competitive edge?
AK: I would like to believe that my competitive edge is that I understand people. In business there are many rules; however, people often forget that you are still dealing with human beings at the end of the day. Because I understand people and how to talk to them and relate to them, I am able to create effective campaigns that the poorest or most elite person can relate too. The fact that I am a people person helps in sealing deals because, people do business with people they like.
CN: What are the challenges you face in the business terrain and how do you overcome them?
AK: My biggest challenge in business varies depending on where I am doing business. In Nigeria, I face the challenge of working in a male dominated world. Being young doesn’t help very much either. Often times I am judged solely based on my looks and how old they “think” I am. Now in America, the struggle is even harder because now race plays a role. I am a young, black, woman in a white, old, male dominate world.
I overcome this obstacle using what I described as my competitive edge. I understand people. A lot of men are afraid of strong and successful women…So I play on that, and try to make them not feel threatened by not being the typical mean woman in the workplace. That only gets me in the door…once I sit down across from them, I become a man just like them and I am all business, all the way.
CN: How do you handle competition?
AK: I don’t worry about competition. I strongly believe there is enough business out here for everybody. I have etched out my niche and I stay in my lane. I am more concerned with building partnerships and uplifting other young entrepreneurs as opposed to beating the competition.
CN: What motivates you?
AK: My family…I grew up in a middle class family that worked extremely hard and I just want to be able to show them a better life.
CN: What role does the internet play in your business?
AK: I wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for the internet. I do a lot of virtual work so it allows me to stay home in America and still work in Nigeria and vice versa. I market my services and promote my clients using the internet every step of the way.
CN: Who are your target customers?
AK: I focus on African-owned small business owners, government agencies and non profits.
CN: In running your company, how important is it for you to train and develop your staff?
AK: Extremely important. As I mentioned before, I am very passionate about empowering young entrepreneurs. Most of the people who work with me have entrepreneurial spirits and I do my best to nurture that spirit. I feel if you give people the knowledge they need to create something of their own they will always do their best for you. And when your time together has come to an end, let them go and watch how they create change in the world because of how they developed under you. You can always partner later down the line in the future.
CN: If you were given capital to further your business, where would you invest it?
AK: Oh that’s a great question…hopefully answering this gives me the capital I need somehow (laughs). I would invest in more marketing and expanding my office space and staff.
CN: What are the three most important traits/characteristics you think every entrepreneur need to possess to succeed in business?
CN: Who is your business role model?
AK: Sheryl Sandberg, Former COO of Facebook. I read her novel Lean In and it just made me want to do business as a woman even more. She doesn’t allow women to use their gender as a excuse to not take charge of their careers, and she promotes being a woman in every aspect including being a mother. That’s something that resonates with me a lot.
CN: If a genie could grant you three business wishes, what would they be?
AK: More capital
More creativity in my service
CN: What advice will you give a person considering starting a business in this industry?
AK: Find a niche in the market and focus on that. Become an expert in your preferred area and become as visible as possible. I’m still working on that myself.
CN: What are your plans for the next few years for this company?
AK: I would like to see my business grow into a multinational corporation one day. More importantly I want to use my company to impact change in Africa. I would like to work with non profits and local and federal governments to promote social accountability, poverty alleviation and sustainable development in Africa.
Andrea C. Kamara
Broad Street PR & Events Int’
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