Twenty-two-year old entrepreneur, Damilola Oluwayemi, has emerged as one of Nigeria’s top 25 young entrepreneurs, at an event organised by SME 100 Nigeria.
Organisers of the event which held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently, had earlier unveiled a roadmap for Nigeria’s 25 Under 25 Most Enterprising youths. The 25 Under 25 Entrepreneurs Awards is an annual ceremony organised to recognise and encourage some of Nigeria’s most innovative entrepreneurs under the age of 25, with the aim of promoting Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) among youths.
Eligibility, Daily Sun gathered, is built on any under 25 youth who is an innovator, influencer, pacesetter or entrepreneur and who has been fingered in doing something remarkable in the domain of SMEs in the country.
Damilola Oluwayemi, who emerged winner in the Perfomating Art category, received his award alongside others in different categories including Beauty and Make-up, Fashion, Event Planning, Agriculture, E-commerce, Housing and Interior Decoration, Food, Professional Services, Health and Skincare, Cyber Security and Technology, Education, Sports, Energy and Sustainability, Music, Tourism and Hospitality, Social Entrepreneurship , Software & Design, Photography and Manufacturing and Logistics.
While speaking on his emergence, Damilola, who is the son of a foremost chartered accountant and clergyman, Segun Oluwayemi, said: “I was nominated in the Performing Arts category. I don’t know how I got referred for nomination or who referred me for nomination but apparently, people saw what I was doing and deemed me worthy to be nominated for the award. To emerge winner in my category, I had to get the highest number of votes. There was a link to vote through which I shared with family and friends. Thankfully, a lot of people were more than happy to vote for me and in the end, I won the award.”
He, however, bared his mind on entrepreneurshop, while charging government to support entrepreneurs through mitigating the challenges small businesses are confronted with.
“SMEs in Nigeria, according to what I know, contribute a lot to our economy. It’s great that there are a few organisations taking it upon themselves to promote, support and encourage entrepreneurs because that goes a long way for us knowing that there are people who appreciate what we are doing for the nation and for ourselves.
“The government can definitely do better in supporting SMEs, given that doing this will encourage people, especially the youths, to be more innovative. With support from the government, entrepreneurs can thrive in their various fields without having to rely on white-collar jobs. And if entrepreneurs can thrive in their legitimate businesses, they will be able to employ more people; hence, reducing unemployment in Nigeria.
“Cost of accessing bank loan is high coupled with unavailability of collateral which is one of the criteria for granting loans by banks. This discourages most entrepreneurs from going to banks for funds. In the cases where there’s funds for SMEs to access, the process is cumbersome which also discourages a lot of entrepreneurs,” he said.
Other recipients included Roz Saeed (Music), Adedoyin Adelakun (Fashion), Matilda Ben-Agbo (Beauty and Make-up), Jumoke Akinboro (Event Planning), Glory Maduagwu (Education) and Evolve Agency (Software and design).