Business member David Akintade talks about his life in export both in Nigeria and the UK

Fri 7 Oct 2022
Posted by: Richard Cree
Features

David AKINTADE Teximarco Ltd IOE&IT

"I love the Institute of Export & International Trade.”

This passionate and full-throated endorsement for the Institute comes from David Akintade, founder and CEO of Teximarco International.

Speaking via a shaky Teams call from his head office in Lagos, Nigeria, the line may be a little weak, but the strength of his love for his work shines through. Akintade tells me of his career-long association with the Institute and how it drew him to London in 1979 to study for the Certificate in Export Office Practice (CEOP) at Central London College.

“I was working for Nigeria Maritime Services and one of the team put a brochure on his desk. I was just 22 years old, and the brochure was for Central London College. As I went through it, I saw this course on exports. Central London College taught courses mainly on marketing and exports. I began to nurse the idea of doing this course.”

Akintade says he has always been interested in the international side of business, and this brochure with a course on exports jumped out at him. He knew he had to get to London and take the course. But initial attempts were rebuffed, as he was denied a visa.

Determination and persistence pay off

“The first time I applied for a visa they rejected me. But because of my persistence and determination to pursue this course, the college sent a letter to the Home Office, saying I was qualified for it and so they granted me a visa. In December 1979 I came to London, and I started this course in January 1980.

Having passed the certificate, it was suggested he carry on studying for the diploma. So, in September he started the two-year diploma in exports. "When we graduated, the Institute granted us graduate membership. It meant I could put MIEX after my name and it made me so proud.”

A further year of study followed – this time a marketing course at North Staffordshire Polytechnic in Stoke-on-Trent – before Akintade returned home to Lagos.

Despite his experiences and newly minted qualifications, he found it hard to find his ideal job in international sales. It was 1985 and, as Akintade puts it with considerable understatement, “Things in Nigeria at the time were complicated”.

When his ideal job didn’t come along, he started his own business in the related area of shipping and freight forwarding. As he puts it simply “We have been doing it ever since.”

Teximarco now focuses on air freight and air freight forwarding services working with large corporates, such as pharmaceutical logistics business JNC International and Dangote and smaller, local SMEs.

A troubled situation in Nigeria has remained a constant for Akintade, who says his focus on air services was a strategic decision made as the result of the situation at the local seaports.

“The reason we focused on air freight was because there are lots of complications at our seaports and I could not stand it anymore. So, we import and export only air freight, but from all over the world.”

Building his network

Akintade recently took up a business membership of IOE&IT and says he is looking forward to connecting with other members and potentially doing business with them as well. “I have attended many of the Export Lunches over the years and been privileged to meet many of the members of the Institute. I know a lot of them have companies dealing in air freight and freight forwarding and I thought this would be a way to boost my business in London and Lagos.”

The changing world of trade

After 35 years in business, all of it focused on trade and exports, Akintade has clearly seen things change a lot. And he isn’t sure all the developments are for the better. “It depends where you are looking at it from. I think it’s a bit harder to do business now if you are in a country like Nigeria. When you are in the UK it may be fine.

“Trade is no longer the same as it was, the documents are changing every day. But then we are living in a changing world. Everything is changing. I make sure that I keep up with the changes, I follow the trends, read about it in magazines, or watch it on the news. And I learn a lot from courses I do.”

It may be decades since he first came to London, but Akintade remains a regular visitor, even popping up to visit the IOE&IT office in Peterborough this summer to meet the team. His enthusiasm for the Institute and its work, as much as for the world of global trade, is an inspiration.

To read more of the October edition of Member Monthly go here.