Ugwu-Oju: Proper Recognition will Boost Entrepreneurship

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By Olaseni Durojaiye

An initiative that would further deepen entrepreneurial pursuit and entrepreneurship in the country while at the same time encouraging government at the state level to put in pl
ace infrastructures that will improve ease of doing business in the various states has been born with the introduction of Nigeria Entrepreneurship Summit and Honours (NESH).

NESH which is fashioned as a result oriented action based knowledge share and advocacy initiative will also monitor high impact projects initiated by entrepreneurs with a view to encourage timely completion and annually review government policies as they affect entrepreneurs and businesses operating in the country.

It is also conceived to offer a live hub and build an online platform through NESH TV. This will be dedicated to entrepreneurs by offering advice, business case studies, news and analysis.

Also, in recognition of the role of mentoring to the success of entrepreneurial endeavours, the initiators have also incorporated NESH NXT into the concept. NESH NXT which is targeted at young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35 will groom and encourage young Nigerians with entrepreneurial spirit. This, according to promoters of NESH, would afford the young entrepreneurs the opportunity of learning business skills from successful entrepreneurs via mentoring and reading about their success stories.

Speaking during a media interactive session to formally announce NESH, the initiator, Emeka Ugwu-Oju, stated that “NESH as currently planned will consist of a result and action based summit” adding that it would be rounded off with a gala night during which notable entrepreneurs would be honoured for their contributions to national development through their entrepreneurial works.

Highpoints of NESH, according to Ugwu-Oju will include “A presentation in plenary on the state of the Nigerian economy from January 2016 to date. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion comprising panelists made up of entrepreneurs and policy makers. The objective is to ascertain policies that are working as planned and those that have failed and need to be discarded. Also there could be suggestions of workable policies by the entrepreneurs.

“There will also be roundtable discussion on some sectors of the economy by entrepreneurs and public sector managers. It is designed to help ascertain rules and regulations that need to be fine-tuned or discarded if found to be counterproductive. The discussion will also look at how to improve the enabling environment for Nigerian entrepreneurs in oil and gas, Agriculture, Transportation including air, rail, road and water; Industry-ICT-Power and Taxation.

“We shall also present the NESH Top Ten High Impact Projects (HIP) watch list. This will be 10 key projects initiated by Nigerian entrepreneurs and PPP arrangements that will make major impacts on the economy. The objective of the watch list is to encourage timely completion of the projects.

The watch list will be released two weeks before the NESH. A key component of NESH is the honours and recognition which comprises; NESH Titans, NESH Entrepreneur of the year; NESH 100, NESH Award to state Governments.

Summit would hold annually and will provide an avenue for thought leadership and engagement, knowledge exchange, networking, benchmarking and appreciation of the contributions of entrepreneurs to national development.

Arguably, on the strength of its potential to contributing to national development, NESH already enjoys the buy-in of some leading Nigerian entrepreneurs and organizations. Among them are His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN,Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and President, Africa Import and Export Bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah. While the vice president is the Grand Patron of NESH; Dr. Oramah will deliver the keynote speech at the event.

Among organisations partnering with NESH are the Center of Value in Leadership (CVL), founded by respected economist, Professor Pat Utomi, and Enterprise Development Center of the Pan African University among others.

Speaking further, Ugwu-Oju, explained that “NESH is also passionate about entrepreneurship and the provision of and nurture of good business environment to ease doing business in the country; that’s why there will be an award to be given out to one state each from the six geo-political zones in the country. The award will go out to the state that has put in place the most infrastructure that helps business to thrive with the least hindrance to doing business.” he explained.

Ugwu-Uju who is the President, South-East and South-South Professionals also stressed that NESH will promote made in Nigeria goods while also maintaining quality standard in order that Nigerian product could compete in the global market place and attract foreign exchange for the country.

Expartiating on NESH honour and recognitions, he explained that, “The NESH Entrepreneur of the year will be the most admired Entrepreneur by his contemporaries. Only members of NESH 500 are eligible to vote for the Entrepreneur of the Year. NESH 100 for 2016 highlights the top 100 Nigerian entrepreneurs who have created significant impact and made a major difference in diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy such as Industry, Telecommunications, Agriculture, Information Technology, Oil & Gas, Entertainment etc.

over the past 15 years. The NESH 100 has been put together after deep analysis and consultation between the NESH Team and key partners such as the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of Pan Atlantic University and the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL). The NESH 500 comprises of NESH 100 AND 400 other Entrepreneurs, many of whom have been nominated by Partner Banks. The Award to State Governments is for one state in each Geo-Political zone that its policies are nurturing and creating enabling environment for Entrepreneurs,” he concluded.