Dedicated to recognising strong and innovative leadership amongst business leaders operating in Africa across all key business sectors and industries, CEO Today Magazine identifies and honours the most respected companies and their C-level executives who lead the way on a global stage.
Neil Barker, MD and founder of Oracle Media, was announced as one of the winners of the CEO Today Africa Awards 2019.
Barker’s entrepreneurial journey started at the age of 11 when he signed up subscribers to the You and Huisgenoot magazines and facilitated the delivery to their door. Subscriptions and deliveries then progressed to Barker hiring someone to assist him with the drop-offs and his first taste of the business world kicked off.
Later in his schooling career, weekends were filled with work as a bartender at night. During the day, he was a salesman at a reputable chain of stores, selling electronic equipment and household appliances. Here he built up his people skills and honed in on his selling abilities. Here is where his passion for selling and customer service all started.
Three days after he matriculated, Barker left for the UK where he worked in a four-star hotel and two-rosette restaurant. Within a year, his hard work paid off and he was promoted to the position of restaurant manager. During this time, he completed a number of short courses relating to the hotel and hospitality industry and was soon again promoted to the junior hotel manager.
After Barker’s time in the UK, he returned to South Africa and started and completed his law degree at Nelson Mandela University. After class and in between exams and assignments, Barker took on the role of part-time real estate agent and won a performance award in his first year – cementing his passion for sales and people. After graduation, Barker completed his articles at BDLS Attorneys in Port Elizabeth.
Barker then went on to acquire a Just Property office and a TV screen company in Port Elizabeth. He discovered the growing power of social media, a vision that unearthed gold, especially in a time where social media and digital marketing was and still is booming. In 2011, Barker rebranded the company, that he and his brother started, as Oracle Media and built it to what it is today.
Oracle Media has three offices; one which is situated at 189 Cape Road, Mill Park, Port Elizabeth, another at 66 Grayston Drive, Sandton and a site office in Durban. Oracle Media has almost 50 staff members and their clientele is continuously growing – which is fantastic news for the future of this company. With both local and international clients, Barker has made good on his philosophy based on being a change agent as well as attracting investment into the country, boosting exports with their international offering and creating jobs within South Africa. He is also a stakeholder in a successful hair salon in Port Elizabeth, Bliss, which has also grown in annual profits.
With only eight years in the business, Oracle Media has grown dramatically and has been finalists in numerous national awards, bagging a few in 2019, and they are hoping for even better results in 2020.