Entrepreneur Habeeb is ‘very glad to be here at the centre of it all’
2018-02-15 16:50:00 -

The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin


In Habeeb’s personal life, his deep interest lies in “telling the African story” from the African’s perspective. It’s something that informs his corporate life, where he encourages clients to “tell their business stories” through his company.


Born Babatunde Habeeb Eyinola, his friends simply call him Habeeb – meaning ‘love’ in Arabic, and a name that truly reflects his personality. 


Originally from Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria, Habeeb moved to Ireland in 2014 with an initial plan to shuttle between Ireland and his homeland. But in no time he fell in love with a country he has come to treasure and regard as an ideal destination for entrepreneurs like him.


Entrepreneurship is in his blood — the Egba people of Abeokuta are renowned for their resourcefulness — which explains the 44-year-old’s varied status as a digital marketing consultant, property investor, serial entrepreneur, social advocate and principal partner at TaliMedia.


“[Ireland is] an ideal destination, especially for entrepreneurs like me,” he says, noting the “massive potential” of its “export orientation”. Less than ideal, however, was the challenge of getting established from the bottom of the proverbial ladder, scrambling for odd jobs while trying to fit into his new surroundings and new system.


“I personally had to re-skill by getting international project management qualifications and an honours degree in international business here in Ireland,” he says. “And although I’m probably one of the few to start out in a management job at an FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods company], I haven’t had that much ‘immigrant’ experience to be able to fit into the workforce.”


Habeeb maintains that immigrants are not having the integration experience they really should. “Though I have met some fantastic indigenous Irish and the Government has put in a lot of effort to enhance integration, [but] it is still rather low and can be very frustrating, especially for people who have suffered racism in different aspects of their lives, either trying to get jobs, accommodation, and sometimes on public transport too.”


Having experienced racism a number of times himself, Habeeb believes human beings naturally gravitate towards people they have similarities with because they find it easier to develop trust in them. 


“I have come to terms with racism and know that to overcome it, one has to continuously self-develop and guard ones integrity jealously to foster that missing trust.”


Habeeb volunteers as project manager for Mr Safety, a children’s health and safety web comic featuring an African superhero and other support characters of diverse ethnic origins.


“We hope this will help to foster African immigrants’ integration the world over, by showcasing the depth of commitment of Africans to children’s health and safety,” says Habeeb. “Probably in the next 10 years, we will see clear results of the efforts from the integration stakeholders and all enjoy a more diverse and prosperous Ireland.”


Habeeb has also done a few stints as a marketing consultant, in the arts, IT and property development. “I would say the core skills I possess are marketing and history,” he says, “and it has stood me in good stead as it is beneficial to all types of businesses, giving me the opportunity to leverage and be successful in most areas of business I have ventured into, both as a core investor and a business owner.”


This varied experience has afforded Habeeb a very rich perspective of different cultures around the world and their unique requirements, which also positioned him to set up TaliMedia, a digital marketing company in Ireland with collaborations in the US, UK, and some African countries, and which will be fully operational at the end of February.


Perhaps the only Nigerian immigrant in that sector in Ireland, Habeeb says he looks forward to seeing more immigrants of African descent venturing into the digital marketing sphere.


“I do hope for a much higher level of integration, more employment in the business sector and public services like the Garda,” he says. “And maybe a Taoiseach of African descent will emerge. As the present, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is of Indian descent and whose father was also an immigrant, is named as the leader of this great country. I believe it will happen someday soon again.”


As for his own future prospects, Habeeb says he is in Ireland to stay.


“Dublin is one of the tech capitals of the world – I am very glad to be here at the centre of it all and I don’t think I see myself living anywhere else in the near future.”

- Princess Pamela Toyin has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0) 87 417 9640 or email echoesmediainternational@gmail.com


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