Nigeria is recognised across the globe as a nation blessed with a huge number of successful and purposeful Entrepreneurs who by there devotion and ingenuity are changing the narrative of the country and turning problems into viable businesses. They are high achievers who see only possibilities and are not ruffled by challenges they encounter, instead they ride on every opportunity to create amazing solutions.
In Nigeria, Joshua Uwabor is at the fore, leading a massive movement and assembling these entrepreneurs; young and old, to deliberate on entrepreneurial issues in Nigeria, make lasting impact on the economy and be celebrated for their contributions.
In this interview, the leader talks about his passion for entrepreneurship and why he believes that entrepreneurs are the future of his dear country.
As the principal partner of the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award; what would you say informed your decision to start up this initiative?
Entrepreneurs are essential for our economic prosperity and growth. They have the ideas and the passion that are needed to create flourishing businesses which benefit entire communities. Entrepreneurs are resilient, fueled by adversity and undaunted by failure; their positive outlook and ‘can-do’ attitude are inspirations to others. Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award was birthed to celebrate and reward entrepreneurs who have shown outstanding business acumen, leadership and have demonstrated outstanding results, displayed great potentials to become successful players in the local and international market place over the past few years.
Nigeria is noted to have a huge number of successful entrepreneurs, how do you ensure that the awards benefit the right people?
In Nigeria, from the north to south and east to west, Nigeria entrepreneurs span across unlike any other country. Whether a chief executive leads an entrepreneurial start-up, a multi-generational family business, a global conglomerate or a major non-profit organization, Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award provides the advantage of a global perspective regardless of where the entrepreneurs reside or do business.
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award was birthed to celebrate and reward entrepreneurs who have shown outstanding business acumen, leadership and demonstrated outstanding results. So anywhere they are in Nigeria, we will research them out, and honour them.
The journey so far…
Yeah! It’s been excellent, challenging and above all exciting. The passion for the entrepreneurial development in Nigeria has been our driving force, that’s why the idea behind the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award is to imbibe a culture of excellence in young and emerging business leaders and showcase thriving businesses in the Nigerian economy that will serve as model businesses for others to emulate.
How would this benefit start-ups and other young entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award is regarded as the most celebrated business award in Nigeria providing a platform for young and leading entrepreneurs to network, excellent support services by developing relevant programmes and activities to start and nurture businesses.
My organization, Emagez Solutions is determined to champion the awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship within young Nigerians. Research shows that developed economies are driven mainly by the private sector and specifically small and growing businesses.
Small/medium businesses collectively provide more jobs than the public sector as well as multinational organizations put together. So we are providing excellent support services to new and existing businesses encourage and promote ethical business practices amongst the local business community. We want to encourage entrepreneurship in every home in Nigeria, thereby, supporting 2,000 businesses each year, to create 100,000 jobs by 2020.
What challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able to outsmart them?
Funds have always been the major challenge, but with our creativity and passion for what we believe in, that is, the Result has always been positive.
Identifying the social causes you are passionate about, how do you think entrepreneurship will help the African continent?
If the youths are engaged and productive, Africa will be more developed.
According to the National Bureau Of Statistics (NBS) unemployment in Nigeria is running at around 19.7 percent on average and almost half of 15 to 24 year olds living in urban areas are jobless.” in addition, there is an estimated graduate turnover of over 700,000 yearly, only 10% of these graduates released into the labour market annually by universities and other tertiary institutions are able to obtain paid employment.
The youths and women today are faced with multiple conflicts giving rise to so many life challenges, leading to increased crime rate; disease prevalence; unemployment and neglect by respective authorities have made the situation more complex to bear. The youths resort to crime and other risky behaviours to fend for their lives but which have directly negative impact on the society. This leaves the government agencies and civil society organizations on the development tracks to equate the balance by tripling their efforts to liberate the common poor who are still immersed in militancy, hunger, poverty, disease, education, etc.
Nigeria Entrepreneurs summit & exhibition is a unique platform created to deliberate on key issues as it affects the total wellbeing and development of the youths of Nigeria as well as proffer implementable insights and strategies for harnessing the vast potentials of the youths. The summit will bring together the most promising entrepreneurs in a 2 day summit in Abuja. During the summit, participants will go through series of discussion sessions involving the youths aimed at fast tracking youth development and economic empowerment.
Are there other initiatives that you are involved in?
Learning is life long, the world is a limitless classroom, and peer exchange is the ultimate leadership lab. We have the Nigeria Entrepreneurs investment summit group, which has attracted a global participation of chief executives with vast experience in any line of work you can think of. Entrepreneurs also find mentors through Nigeria Entrepreneurs mentorship programs, where business leaders with extraordinary success stories are ready and willing to share their expertise with the next generation of leaders and executives.
So apart from the awards, we have the Nigeria entrepreneurs’ investment summit group and entrepreneurs’ mentorship program.
What are some of the lessons that you have picked on your entrepreneurial journey?
I have learnt never to give up on my dreams; I may start small but I won’t remain small. As an entrepreneur, I expect to hear people say it will never work, so I just stick to my vision; I amplify my impact, because entrepreneurs are the future.
Any words of encouragement/advice for other young and aspiring
Don’t quit!!! When you know better you will do better. It’s important you nurture that new idea or initiative you have. You must identify yourself as an entrepreneur 1st before you have an identity.
To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of propose is supreme.
*The original manuscript was submitted by Akpah Prince a Ghanaian Blogger and Freelance Writer and has been edited.