Oliver Jerry Francois is the founder of I.E.E or International Events Entertainment. As its name hints, the fledging company is a brand that produces musical artists and stages cultural events and musical shows.
Francois exercises his skills as an entrepreneur to make sure things run smoothly. The entrepreneur, who, interestingly enough, is pursuing a degree in the medical field, has his mind on growing a one-of-a-kind company that promotes up-and-coming and established young artists in the music business. Seeing the direction that I.E.E is taking, it is a sure bet that it’s going to tranform into a hybrid of sort…a marketing, logistics, event design and promotion company, in addition to taking on tasks of a record label.
Was it your combined love for staging events and music shows that led you to start International
Events Entertainment (I.E.E)?
From the beginning, I wanted to lift up spirits, explore art in general by not only focusing on my own culture, but by integrating other cultures into it. It is more of a revolutionary mission to come up with something original—but different enough to reach out to a nation and other places.
As an entrepreneur in the business, what goes in a typical day in the world of Oliver Francois?
I won’t say my days are quiet typically, because each one of my days carry something different since I started the business. For example, my day starts off with a prayer to God. I check the status of new connections. Attend the recording sessions of my artists. Develop and execute photoshoots and ideas. And most importantly, I get the field ready for them by building a certain amount of credit and trust with Haitian radio and television. On a less busy day, I always take the opportunity to spend time with the little ones in my family.
Let’s talk about one of your artists, Stan. Did you personally discover him?
No, I can never say I discovered Stan. I actually witnessed him becoming the artist he is today and I’m really amazed by his talents. We are family; [he’s] always calling me his big bro and his mentor. We’re always there for each other no matter what time or what’s happening. We both migrated to [The United States of] America—-[with each of us going] in different States, but that doesn’t mean much, because we stay connected. I witnessed him from afar as he was building his own legacy and empire as a singer, sound engineer and producer. He is actually the one behind Magic Fingerz Productions. He is a genius [laughter]. I’ll let his talent do the talking.
You’re producing six different artists. How do you help them grow with your production company? Like brand them as I.E.E artists, but at the same time help them develop distinct identities?
I help them with their projects and make sure the time set is respected and their work is on point. Like I said before, I get the field ready for them with the trust and credit I’m building with a few radio station and television in Haiti. Set their photo shoot and video shoot dates and all. It’s not easy because some of them live in different States, which sometimes bring a little issue with the recording sessions, but they understand the business and do their best. Each one of them apply their own style and they are good at what they do and I always tell them to stay original. They add their own flavors to their work and each one of them has a message to send out to the world.
You partner up with other like-minded young entrepreneurs: G’s Addiction, Magic Fingers Production and Ced Graphix. How do you all come together?
As we all know, G’s Addiction is a fashion line associated with us. We host events and promote their fashion works. Magic Fingerz Production—as mentioned before—is the Empire built by Stan way before he joined I. E.E; in fact he is our producer. As for C3dGraphix, he is a beat maker but it has been a while since he decided to focuse on posters and promotion. To elaborate, I can say that all three make up the management team behind I.E.E from fashion to production and promotion of or projects.
You give a lot of credit to your family in terms of factors that have helped you to get to where you are.
Those credits will mainly go to my mother. This lady is the engine of my life and I wouldn’t have the strength and motivation I have to come up with this whole movement if it wasn’t for what she taught me.
What’s the most helpful principle that she instilled in you?
She always said to me, “If you want to make something big, you have to believe that you can first.” And that is why I never stop dreaming, planning, working to reach my goals. And I can’t forget about my brothers and sisters they always supporting me in anything that I’m doing and they keep me motivated by telling me sometimes you’re too young to be tired. You’re young the world is yours as long you re doing something positive.
And you’ve also credited the school system in Haiti. What are some of the things you learned while there, that you have found are applicable to life and business?
Attending the College Canado Haitien was like an army experience. That’s what we all called it—due to all those rules we had to follow everyday as students. Everything was monitored from the dress code, classroom conduct, school yard antics, to the [type of] languages spoken. The teachers and counselors would always talk about real life as an adult, always preparing us to be the men that our country of tomorrow will be able to rely on. As I look back at those days, they were the best days of learning any dreamer and fighter could have. My days in that school have helped me set rules in my own personal life, made me a leader who is still following the same goal as the school always did: “Plus Haut, Plus Fort, Plus Loin”—Higher, Stronger, Further.
And speaking of business, what little pearls of wisdom would you like to pass on others wanting to create their own lane?
First, anyone who is trying to get into the business world needs to be aware that to win you will have to lose a few times. Money, opportunities, resources—anything—but your head has to be on your shoulders. I personally [like it] when people tell me my heart has never changed. I am the same humble guy that I was years ago before this whole movement started. Everyone that’s in the business field—young or old—should always stay humble. I’m always helping others first, because to me, money was never the main goal. Learn how to stand for yourself—meaning come with your own originality. You have to know who’s really with you—don’t try to bite the hand that’s feeding you. And one other thing is that in business, there is no ego. If you have to lose before winning, do not back up or give up, keep hustling, and trust me, the results will be worth it.
Is it hard balancing school with your business obligations?
Sometimes it is hard to balance both, but I don’t let it get to me because someone else out there might be going through worse. I have a goal set and I won’t stop. I have a country to make proud, a message to send to every economic class, a revolution to establish and a legacy to pass onto future generations. As hard and unsure [as] it could be sometimes, I’m standing strong and confident to let the whole world know that my people are a nation with dreams and potential.