Angelos Iacovides is a media personality, entrepreneur, Managing Director of Scenario Group and former director of MTV Cyprus. He made his first entrepreneurial debut at the age of 14 when he started designing websites and filming and editing school events. Today he manages a vast portfolio of projects in the media and service sector under the Scenario Group which he founded in 1990. His involvement in media both in Cyprus and the UK has been long-lasting. Besides working for different private and state TV, radio channels and newspapers in Cyprus, he has also worked in the BBC World Service and the Nickelodeon Television station in London.
Angelos’ company inevitably experienced the harsh effects of the economic crisis which started impacting on his business in 2008, but managed to steadily thrive with his intuitive business approach and hard work which put his company on the right track.
We can learn a lot from Angelos’ entrepreneurial career. I outline below some of the most inspirational sides of his personal and entrepreneurial life - that are valuable to young entrepreneurs - as they emerged from an interview that I conducted with him.
Start Young and Build up Capital
Angelos was only fourteen years old when he first started building his capital by informally filming and editing school events. He used his first money to buy a video camera and video editing software. He then launched Angelos Television Studios (ATS), which was registered under his mother, as he was underage. This enterprise dealt with various TV productions, video editing and coverage of events. At the same time he was also operating Options Creative Solutions, another company which dealt with photography as well as web design. He carried on raising money from a radio show that he was presenting when he was serving his military service.
Continuing with his passion, he studied Media at Birmingham University where he upgraded his artistic skills and continued building capital through designing and programming websites for clients. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so was the case for Angelos’ business. He managed to build a robust company after accumulating years of work experience in the media sector of Cyprus and the UK and networking with key people who helped him progress in his career.
Network with People
As a teenager, Angelos had a clear vision of what he wanted from his life and he pursued his dream; that is to follow a career in the media. How did he achieve this? Through networking, meeting new people and seeking new experiences in Cyprus and abroad. Since he was a child, he wanted to present his own show on radio and TV, so he sent a proposal letter to the Head of Acquisitions at CYBC for a radio show who then invited him to go to her office. He was then offered a radio programme on CYBC radio and presented his first radio show at the age of 14. When he was studying in the UK, he worked for the Greek section of the BBC World Service and then offered the opportunity to film a BBC Midlands documentary about Shakespeare.
Make Sure You Have a Passion for What You Are Doing
Believe it or not, although being the owner of more than ten entrepreneurial projects, Angelos had ever dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. His involvement in entrepreneurship emerged after exploiting and making the most out of his talents and managing to turn his hobbies into a profitable business! “What I was thinking is that I am doing a hobby and I am getting paid for it. I wasn’t really thinking that I want to make a company and employ people and all these things. What I wanted to do is what I like and start bringing money inside”.
Moreover, truly loving what you are doing is a prerequisite for successful entrepreneurship. Speaking from experience, Angelos believes that “Sooner or later it will become apparent if you don’t love what you are doing. People will see it that you are fake and they will stop using your services and everything that you provide for them”.
According to Angelos, entrepreneurship is not something that is taught or learned. It comes with someone’s personality. He notes that “You cannot really study entrepreneurship. It comes with you, it comes with your knowledge and passion, it comes with your thinking, it comes with who you are”. One has to work hard and have a strong motivation in what he’s doing in order to thrive.
Keep to your Values: Be Sincere and Professional
The Scenario Group owner believes that in order to be a successful entrepreneur one has to be proactive, read and think a lot, survey the business environment, go to seminars and listen to inspiring people. What’s more, being truthful and real towards clients is a fundamental value that should govern every business activity. He admits that as a company owner “We always tell the truth, we provide the best prices, we always try to help people and understand their needs and help them as best we can”.
Taking this approach, Angelos’ company managed to survive in the unfavourable climate of the financial crisis. He acknowledges that in today’s competitive world “Every day is a challenge. Every day you do things, every day you talk to people, you make proposals, sometimes you get some proposals, sometimes you don’t get any proposals. So, the difficulty is to convince people that your work is really good”.
Last But Not Least… “Follow Your Dreams I did”
Angelos always takes an optimistic attitude in life. Being hopeful, persistent, hard-working, and innovative are just a few characteristics of his personality which have an immediate impact on his business success. Besides that, he reminds young aspiring entrepreneurs that “the difficult is easy, the impossible takes some time”, so they should never give up pursuing something that is hard or complicated if they are passionate in doing so.
That’s how Angelos managed to build Scenario Group, a company that today provides an abundance of services and solutions to individuals and corporate entities ranging from design and hosting of websites, to IT solutions, event management, renovations and interior design. His Group also hosts two popular portals for music fans, www.music.net.cy and www.melodia.tv as well as a portal targeting young Cypriot soldiers and a site for wedding planning.