If there ever was an events production company in Ghana that has chalked so much success in the space of just one year, that company is Evolution International.
In September 2010, one young dreamer, Fred Darko and four other young men walked away from what could arguably be the peak of their career in events production, and they decided to start Evolution International from scratch.
Fred was at least a dreamer, but the four other adventurous ones who followed him may have made one of the riskiest choices in their careers, but it has paid off. Fred told Adom Entertainment News Evolution was a dream he had a dream that in five years he would reach the rest of Africa with concepts that corporate organisations across the continent would be ready to bank roll because the value for them would be obvious.
He noted that after moving from of a top position in Charterhouse, one of Africa’s leading event production houses, he and his adventurous colleagues started from scratch with no client, no office, one laptop and a modem.
“In just one year we have over 15 very big clients including banks, telecom companies, airlines, fashion houses and others – and we have done so many big events we have even lost count,” Fred said with a very humble tone, adding that “the level of our success in just one year is humbling and I know it is just the favour of God.”
Fred said currently Evolution has employed 10 more permanent staff, and have advertised even more jobs; plus it provides indirect jobs for 100s including musicians, fashion houses, camera people, dancers, cultural troupes, stage designers and many more.
“People have even come from other African countries to come see what we are doing and it should not be surprising to find that very soon our staff and clientele would cut across the continent because people outside Ghana have already started showing interest in working with us,” he said. He said future is bright because some time back, corporate organisations in Ghana were not willing to bank roll events that cost even GHC50,000, but now some are bank rolling up to even GHC500,000 events.
“The breweries used to be the biggest spenders but now the telecom operators have taken over and the banks are getting into the fray gradually because there is stiff competition in the banking sector now,” he said. Fred however noted that like all other dreams, which are destined for success, Evolution begun on a very challenging note, characterised by the loss of their first office premises at Asylum Down in Accra because there was no money to pay the rent advance.
“We were expecting some money to pay for the rent but the money never came and we lost it – that night my wife encouraged and said there would be a better office, and true to her word we got the Osu Ring Way Estates office where we are now,” he said. Fred was full of gratitude to the landlady, who he said, gave them the office without demanding rent advance but asked them to pay her when they got the money.
He also noted that their tremendous success in one year was because their clients took a gamble and trusted them with money to do events for them.
“For a company that is less than one year in the market, I think our clients took a gamble in trusting us with their money – and for that we are very grateful,” he said. Fred said Evolution’s first client was Daviva – and the job was a runway show at Holiday Inn, then the second was Brussels Airline, who wanted to launch in Ghana and someone referred them to Evolution.
He said their first big production was the rebranding of Kasapa to Expresso, but that did not come on a silver platter either.
“We did a presentation to the management of the company from Dubai and during the presentation, the CEO interrupted and said there was nothing special about our concept and then he walked out on us.
“After he walked out one of the managers asked if we still wanted to go ahead with the presentation and we did, after which he asked us to go back and work on something different and come back.”
Fred said on their way back to the office they came up with a new concept and returned the following day and did another presentation and got the job. He said since then Evolution had done activations for Tigo, Vodafone, MTN, Airtel, UT Banks and several other blue chip companies across the country.
Fred also noted that Evolution’s biggest event for the year was the Amakye Dede concert, in collaboration with Adom FM, which pulled arguably the biggest crowd Ghana saw last year for an indoor event and the International Conference Centre.
“This year there is something very big in the pipeline from Evolution but we are not yet ready to disclose we will open up on that at the right time,” he said. Fred was full of gratitude to the board of directors at Evolution and to the consultant who directed them to put proper structures in place so they could account for everything they did and every pesewa they spent.
He advised young dreamers and businessmen like himself to learn the discipline of keeping to the structures and accounting to a board of directors who would guide and shape the dream to the expected success.
Source: Ameyaw Debrah
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