The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Africa Young Voices (AYV) Media Empire, Ambassador Anthony Navo Jr. has shared his experience at the E-Connect Entrepreneurial Summit, stressing diversification and networking as key ingredients for any successful entrepreneurial path.
The Summit was held in Freetown with the theme: ‘The rise of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem’.
Amb. Navo Jr. thanked Entrepreneurs Connect Organisation for their timely intervention, innovative programmes and the great work that has gone into hosting this summit. He said Entrepreneurship has changed his life and keeps transforming people and communities worldwide.
Sharing his story on the journey of his life in Entrepreneurship, Amb. Anthony Navo Jr. said: “People say Amb. Anthony Navo Jr. is a successful business man. Well people say I am a rich guy. This is because business is associated with wealth creation.
“People say Ambassador Navo Jr. is a receipt of serval awards including the Most Credible Africans Award; Man of the Year Award from the Women’s Group – Sisters Choice; Lifetime Achievement Award from National Entertainment, Most Influential Person of the Year – Sierra Leone, and host of others. And so on.
“And I am humble by the kind sentiments. But there is one thing many people will not say – that’s my struggle. How it started and how I got to this stage. This is important for people in this room who are aspiring to be successful entrepreneurs. The journey is not easy. You have to work more harder, with sleepless nights, restless.
“I started my entrepreneurship journey with nothing. Absolutely, noting. I had no penny. No money. All I had was a dream and passion to make a difference. I started small. If anyone was to debate whether entrepreneurs are born or made – I would say both. Some are born GREAT, some achieve greatness. I am an entrepreneur to the bone. Business is my DNA. I have learned (well still learning) the ability to identify and maximise business opportunities.
“Born in Freetown, I attended the Prince of Wales School. I later travelled to the UK where I studied business and management at the University of Essex. I started my own business at an early age. I have always been entrepreneurial and started taking an interest in business straight after school. I was inspired by my family’s import/export business. I have done a lot. I started with pharmaceuticals, electronic goods and milk powder – gradually taking on increasing responsibility. I have always supported youth empowerment groups. I have worked with students for over 20 years. I have been passionate about developing opportunities for young people.
“In 2009 the young Leaders Sierra Leone Network voted me as their youth ambassador.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report recommended that an adequate voice be given to young people and women. Not much was done for young people. I saw a gap and stepped in. It was this that inspired me to create a platform for young people. Africa Young Voices (AYV Media Empire) was the result.
“In May 2011, I launched the newspaper. The radio station followed. AYV also has its own printing press and prints most of the country’s daily newspapers. We have established a partnership with the BBC and Dtsv and AYV is among the leading media outlets in Africa. We have got some outstanding people here today who I think represent the promise of entrepreneurship not only in Sierra Leone, Manor River Union, Africa but around the world.
“And I want to share this message to you all: It is important to note that all of you embody a spirit that we need to take on some of the biggest challenges that we face in the world — the spirit of entrepreneurship, the idea that there are no limits to the human imagination and innovation; that hard work pays. You have the opportunity and ecosystem to create what you want. We live in a digitalised world. Everything is possible.
“Entrepreneurship is the solution to our problems. Entrepreneurship creates new opportunities, new jobs, and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world around us. Entrepreneurship offers a positive alternative to the ideologies of violence, drugs addiction (Kush), and political division. Entrepreneurship helps reduce poverty. Entrepreneurship means be “your own boss”. You have ownership and self-determination, as opposed to simply being dependent on other people for your livelihood and your future.
“There are challenges – as you all know and it is hard to take those first steps.
It’s hard to access capital and resources. It’s hard sometimes to get the training and the skills to run an efficient business. It’s hard to tap into the networks and mentors that can help your startups. But we should not be held back by these challenges. So today you have an opportunity. You have taken the first.
“This summit is offering entrepreneurs more information on startup capital. You should aim to set a goal at this Summit. Set a goal of generating resources to start your business.
Don’t wait. Start today. For those who are already in business and succeeding, I call on everyone including state and non-state actors to engage and support the young people including women.
“With dedication and passion, we can unlock new solutions to the pressing challenges that we face. I believe that. I believe in the power of young people. I believe that all of us can make a huge difference, and inspire our people in the Manor River Union to use entrepreneurship as a tool for positive change. Our collective efforts will make life better for all of us. Let’s grow together. I thank you.”
Chief Executive, Entrepreneurs Connect Organisation, Dr. Carrie Santos said: “Our organisation believes so strongly that entrepreneurial talent is everywhere in the world and learning is for everyone. In EO, entrepreneurs have the chance to learn and develop together, in an inclusive, diverse community that creates shared value and growth through equitable access to support. No one needs to go it alone.”
Patricia Jeneba Jamiru, Coordinator E-Connect Sierra Leone, said the Summit is aimed to help young business minded people to put their dreams together. She said the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) is a high-quality support network of 16,000+ like-minded leaders across nearly 80 countries.
She said EO helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences, and collaborative learning, adding that it has been helping entrepreneurs achieve transformational growth since 1987 and its member network is committed to learning and helping each other succeed.