The Co-Founder of Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award, Mr. Uwabor Joshua, in this interview with Anayo Okolie, speaks on factors affecting entrepreneurs in the country, among others

What is Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award all about?

Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award is an exclusive award that seeks to reward excellence among the most committed and dedicated businesses operating in Nigeria. It focuses on recognising outstanding corporate organisations and individuals who have positively impacted the economy of Nigeria. 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 Nigeria. More than 30 top entrepreneurs and corporate organisations from around Nigeria have been recognised for their vital contributions to the economy through the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award platform in the last two years.

How has the organisation impacted on Nigerian youths?

Now in its third edition, Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award has celebrated and honoured some of the best-known entrepreneurs in corporate Nigeria today. Winners of this prestigious and highly celebrated award exemplify the best in Nigeria leadership. We have over 2.5 million registered online members who are young and aspiring entrepreneurs; we have also supported 520 start-up businesses across Nigeria and held over 20 successful entrepreneurship programmes to support young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

What are the challenges facing the organisation since you started?

Funding has always been the major challenge, we have some good business plans from our members but helping them secure the needed loan to facilitate their project is a major challenge.

What motivated you to go into it?

I am an entrepreneur and I have always been passionate about this, so when I see someone with great idea I am always excited to render help in order to see that the idea is birthed, nurtured and also grow it to maturity.

How has the organisation contributed to the growth of Nigeria ‘s economy?

As Nigeria gamble with the outbreak of unemployment as a major challenge, the hope for a turnaround depends mostly on entrepreneurs. The federal government has shown strong interest in nurturing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), launching funding tools, lowering business registration cost by 60 per cent and adopting pioneering technology in agriculture and financial services. However, little is known about the world of entrepreneurs and issues such as how funding is attained and the obstacles holding them back. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, we have been able to help about 30 per cent of our registered online members’ access small loans, thereby creating jobs and building the Nigeria economy, which is of utmost importance.

What is your advice to the youths?

They should be focus in whatever they are doing and also believe in God. I will like to take a quote from Africa most successful Entrepreneur, Aliko Dangote “To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”