Interview: Meet Jibril Baba, Founder of Architectural Company, Inkmen Group
Africa’s Architectural industry is currently undergoing a massive transformation to meet the demands of the fast-growing population and contemporary designs.
Within the last decade, Architecture in Africa has experienced a major shift in growth and investment and a new generation of skilled Architects are coming up.
One of such is Jibril Baba, a Nigerian-based Architect and founder of Inkmen Group. In this interview, he reveals more about his motivation, the solutions his company is providing and how he aims to contribute to the growing industry of Architecture in Nigeria.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Jibril baba. I’m an Architect and Creative Writer who is trying his best to enjoy the tribulating sun in the city of Akure, a state in the south western region of Nigeria.
Tell us about Inkmen Groups and the solutions you provide
We are a group of calligraphers and designers. We offer architectural services for prospective homeowners and contractors. We are the operating system of the homes we build since we put a lot of our focus on every aspect of the design.
What inspired the idea for it?
I think the general ambition from day one was to provide a service with a perceptible context. We’ve seen lots of architectural firms spring up over the last few years, and collapse tragically due to a poorly defined context.
So, in many ways, when people begin to identify with our service, it is truly gratifying and indicates that we are clearly on the right path. Step by step though; we have the data and we know the right things to do.
What’s the greatest challenge you encountered when you started out?
Pitching our brand message and core values. Since there are so many established firms that offer top level architectural solutions, it’s very difficult to notice the little start-up guys at the corner.
Tell us about how Inkmen Groups is adjusting to the ongoing pandemic.
We’ve always prioritized our social media presence. So, not much has really changed since the pandemic hit.
We constantly inform our little community that we are in this together, and we will get through it together. We’ve sent out newsletters and surveys to our community to ensure that we are in touch. It goes a long way, as we have found from the responses.
What workable solutions do you suggest that the government could employ to curb the spread of coronavirus?
It’s still difficult to truly analyze the behavior of the virus. Still, some of the most helpful solutions should be the ones that are already in motion: wearing the face masks and ensuring safe distancing from people.
Kindly describe the challenges facing the Architectural industry in Nigeria, and what you think can be done to fix them?
There is a challenge of billable and working hours. Also, dealing with the stereotypes from certain clients who make specific unreasonable demands from start-up firms.
I think more public awareness of the architecture industry processes can help people understand a lot of things.
With all the challenges that comes with entrepreneurship, what’s the one thing that motivates you to keep going?
The random messages we get from people who love the job we are doing is the biggest motivation. To keep that stream of feedback flowing is one major factor that motivates the team.
What are the future plans for Inkmen Groups?
Top collaborations with the big names in the industry and hopefully bringing in an international audience.
From your experience as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give young African entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
The first and most important value to have is a clearly defined context. Everything else comes right after. Get a core brand message and project in a million ways until everyone can see it.