Jason Njoku is no shrinking violet. Truthfully, these words may better describe the man: boisterous, bullish and brash – not necessarily in that order. And some of these qualities have been necessary ingredients of the successes his and his venture, iROKOtv have enjoyed. So it is with great pleasure that Inspire Afrika congratulates Mr Njoku – who we interviewed in issue 5 – on winning the CNBC AABLA West Africa Young Business Leader of the Year2013 – West Africa. The accolade, which honours business excellence in the West Africa region that has had a considerable impact on their industry and the community that they serve, was awarded to him by a judging panel that included Seyi Bickersteth – National Senior Partner of KPMG Professional Services, Nigeria; Oscar N. Onyema -Chief Executive Officer, The Nigerian Stock Exchange and Bismark J. Rewane – Economist and Banker on the evening of Wednesday 28 August at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria.
Jason, who recently welcomed the birth of his son with his wife Mary, had this reaction to the special and well deserved recognition: “I cannot receive this award without mentioning the unfaltering love, support and patience of my wife, Mary [and] I must also thank my best friend, business partner and iROKO co-founder, Bastian Gotter, whose initial investments into my ‘crazy Nollywood internet project’ have helped us to grow our business into a market leader. This is an incredible honour, to be recognized by my peers and notable business leaders from across West Africa… Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing someone can ever do; it consumes every second of your day and will challenge and push you to your absolute limits. It is both brutal and sublime and as many of my peers will testify, doing business in Africa comes with its own set of unique challenges. That being said, there’s nothing else I would want to be doing with my life and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to build with iROKO giving the African internet scene the global platform it so rightly deserves. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my fellow finalists and winners on the evening.”
This recent award comes on the back of being touted by Forbes Africa as one of Africa’s Top Young Millionaires to watch as well as being named as one of Africa’s Top 50 African Trailblazers by New African Magazine. Impressive but Mr Njoku has refused to rest on his laurels. He keeps creating, developing and acquiring new businesses and also helps to fund and support new start-ups through SPARK, a hybrid of business angel, venture capital or as Jason likes to refer to it, conglomerate. It would be exciting to see how Jason and his team respond to the recent opening up of YouTube’s Partnership Programme to all Multi Channel Networks in Africa; of which iROKOtv is arguably the largest. It would also be interesting to see how well they respond to new but formidable competitors such as Ibakatv. This may serve as their stiffest challenge yet and a test of their fecundity and flexibility. But on the basis of previous form, it would be unwise to bet against Jason.