“We are youth, trying to target youth… Because we embody our brand and are the face of it, other young people connect with us and our journey and in turn follow our company.”
In 2012 sixty-six per cent of UK 16-24 year olds owned a smartphone, in 2015 it was estimated that the number had risen to 90 per cent, according to statista.com. Great Understanding And Power (GUAP) is a youth culture brand aiming to take advantage of this extensive platform through its innovative product, video magazines.
Ibrahim Kamara, an award-winning 22-year-old entrepreneur from London, co-founded GUAP during his final year of university.
Matthew Hancock, the Cabinet Office Minister, recently remarked that under-25s should not be covered for the new UK national living wage as they are “not as productive”. This article is part of the IPF’s response, a series delving into the lives and hardships of young entrepreneurs across the country.
“They can’t be a better me, or do me better.” – Ibrahim Kamara, co-founder of GUAP International Ltd.
A CHANGING MEDIA INDUSTRY
A new breed of urban consumer is gaining its first media experiences via smartphones and tablets and has a strong preference for online content, states a 2013 report from KPMG – a global network which specializes in providing audit, tax and advisory services.
While the mobile content consumer is nothing new, recently the mobile-centric audience has seen spectacular growth. As consumers are demanding more and more media online, content providers are having to transition their business and marketing models.
Yet whenever there is great favour for a new user experience, the real winners are always the new companies that emerge in the wake of change and not necessarily the incumbent companies that make a succesful transition to the new platform.
Ibrahim Kamara is one of many entrepreneurs hoping to make their way in these new territories engendered by the emerging class of mobile-first consumers.
A NEW PRODUCT TO MATCH THE NEW PLATFORM
As companies scramble to attract the attention of this new audience, the market has been flooded by anyone with recording equipment and a broadband connection. However, GUAP has managed to carve a place in the new market with its niche as a video magazine. But what separates GUAP from the influx of media channels permitted by the easy access provided by internet-based platforms?
Ibrahim defines GUAP’s goal as “revolutionising the way youths view and attain success, and open the door for all to achieve their dreams. Our platform is focused on established and emerging talent within UK music, arts & fashion as well as the creative culture revolving around it, whilst providing a source of inspiration for young people globally.”
Why do you think GUAP has been successful?
We are youth, trying to target youth… Because we embody our brand and are the face of it, other young people connect with us and our journey and in turn follow our company. We are aiming to inspire and entertain young people worldwide.
“We want to own a number of platforms and social enterprises designed to empower and embrace youth culture.”
Our ultimate goal is to revolutionise the way youths view and attain success and open the door for all to achieve their dreams.. All [of] our success, awards, TV appearances, speeches, etc. have all happened in the space of four months since the initial dot. The initial thought.
What would you call success?
I would say success is happiness. It’s not all about the money, cars, fame, etc. I believe it’s a concept that is relative to the individual. It’s about setting personal goals and achieving them thus creating a sense of happiness in the certain individual. It’s more of an emotion rather than an adjective.
Competition is fierce, how do you stay ahead?
To be honest I don’t really feel [like] I have any competition. The only person I compete with is myself. As long as I’m always improving, I will always be ahead of [the] ‘competition’ because they can’t be a better me or do me better.
How do you manage finding the time to constantly better yourself and your company while still trying to maintain a life as a 22-year-old from London?
It’s all about prioritising and timetabling. The business started up while I was studying [for] my final year exams and it was quite difficult but, if anything is important to you, you find the time.
“It’s just about doing what you want to do and making sure nothing comes in the way.”
As co-founder, you are not solely responsible for the running of GUAP. How do you go about recruiting people to your team? What is the most important aspect?
Currently me and Jide [co-founder] do everything, but we have around two or three people who help on the side, follow us to shoots, contribute, etc… They need to be able to share the same vision you do [and you] should be able to feel that they do very fast… Initially [when] we look for people [we] give them small roles and monitor their activeness within the company.
What advice would you give to any young entrepreneurs thinking about starting a business?
The only advice I have is: do it. There is no long answer, you just have to go ahead and start.