At the helm of Panda Media stands a visionary entrepreneur with a background that might surprise many – Industrial Chemistry. Michael Okolie’s passion for entertainment led him to the world of creative arts. His journey began as a radio host for the sports segment of his university campus radio, where he skillfully engaged listeners and earned accolades for his on-air skills.
Panda Media was conceived during Michael’s final year of university after he was driven by the desire to uplift young creative minds and alter the narrative of how the world perceives youthful talents.
“I wanted to support young creative minds willing to change the narrative of how the world sees young talents and help them break into the entertainment space.”
The company is on a mission to address critical societal issues while nurturing young and emerging talents in Nigeria. Today, it has become the parent company for three other ventures, each with a unique purpose:
– Venusta Fashion Show: Venusta means beauty and this event is focused on showcasing the beauty of the Nigerian culture and proving that beauty knows no ethnicity.
– Venusta Modelling Agency: Panda Media also nurtures and fosters talent through its modeling agency to help young people discover their identity and build confidence that transcends cultural barriers.
– Creative Events: Depression, unemployment, and feelings of inadequacy are ever-present challenges among today’s youths. By organizing free events that feature young talents such as spoken word artists, dancers, musicians, and comedians, Creative Events provides a vital platform for these artists to shine. This not only boosts their visibility but also helps them build portfolios and gain a foothold in the entertainment industry.
According to Michael, the journey from a budding startup to a recognized name in the entertainment industry wasn’t a walk in the park.
“The spirit of collaboration, creativity, passion, and good work ethics are what have brought me this far.”
Michael’s entrepreneurship journey has been filled with various lessons. One of the most vital lessons is the acceptance of failure as an intrinsic part of the entrepreneurial process.
“Embracing failure, learning from it, and evolving, is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart.”
Winning the 25under25 Award in his category has been transformative for Michael. The recognition has enabled him to connect and collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs, enhanced his visibility and exposure in the industry, and opened doors to numerous collaborations and partnerships.
Michael’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to accept failure as a stepping stone to success and a learning opportunity, remain consistent even in the face of challenges, and network and collaborate with people.
“If you’re going into a business solely because of fame, when challenges come along the way, you might grow frustrated. When you love what you do, you’ll be passionate about looking for ways to iterate and improve things as you go.”
In the next 5 to 10 years, Michael envisions Panda Media becoming the leading film and entertainment brand in Africa; impacting countless lives, and providing young people with direction, purpose, and opportunities to showcase their talents. It will be more than just a media company; it will be a force of change and inspiration.