BusinessDay

Inspiring Nigerian youth for entrepreneurship, innovativeness, the Grand Oak’s new approach

Grand Oak through its London Dry Gin flagship brand is making significant investment in inspiring and encouraging the Nigerian youth to keep striving by believing in their dreams and determined to achieve goals in spite of challenges. This, the brand believes will result in a domino effect on the economy. Daniel Obi looks at the brand’s approach and its expected impact.

The maxim in Nigeria that ‘the future is bright’ could only be rhetoric if actions are not triggered. For several years, Nigeria economy has been on vicissitude trajectory, with stakeholders trusting the youth as the solution. The Nigerian youth is presently on the rise in spite of challenges. This is basically one of the reasons that informed Lord’s Achievers Award by Grand Oak Limited, marketer and distributor of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

The positive energy, resilience and boldness displayed by Nigerian youth, aged 20 – 45 in various fields in the recent time, indicate that with encouragement and support, the future is bright. No wonder, the premium spirit manufacturer, under its flagship brand, Lord’s London Dry Gin introduced Lord’s Achievers Award to celebrate young achievers in Nigeria. Ten innovators are recognised and awarded each year. This number could increase, depending on needs.

The award introduced in 2019 is to recognize young exceptional and outstanding individuals between the ages of 25 and 40, who have recorded notable success in their chosen endeavors , inspired many with their innovation, placed Nigeria on the map by others’ recognition of their skills and displayed resilience.

From Fintech industry such as Andela and Co-creation hub, CC hub in Lagos to Aba shoe industry, software development centres across the country, to music, carpentry, medicine, fashion, agriculture and to publishing, young innovators have dotted the space, making great strides. Lord’s Achievers Award is therefore designed to stimulate and encourage them for overall interest of the economy.

Why Achievers are celebrated
Obinna Ike, Director of Marketing and Innovation of the company explained that the award is to “recognize and celebrate the young ones who are excited to take on a new challenge because it presents an opportunity to learn or impact the world”.
The award also casts “spotlight on those who hold themselves responsible for the excellent delivery of solutions, ensuring the positive impact of their activities on the end-user; execute robust plans in the face of barriers, and stay unflinching in the face of challenges, as they chart unfamiliar territories”.

Not only does the Lord Achievers Award celebrate young Nigerians that inspire, the platform seeks to raise a generation of youth confident in their abilities to take on challenges.
Basically, the Achievers Award is pushing the Nigerian youth to display more resourcefulness in spite of the unfriendly environment. Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare once acknowledged that the Nigerian Youth is not only important but endowed with positive trait and resourcefulness that inspire out-of-the-box thinking.

” The new generation are full of new ideas and the ability to visualize all the possible ways to achieve what they desire”, he said in a report. Identification of this resourcefulness, ingenuity and creativity among Nigerian youth to reward them, as being done by Lord’s Achievers Award, will not only inspire the youth but influence others.

Read also: Abiru awards grants to constituents’ start-ups

The award is not only moral boosting, but an inspiration to do more and impart others especially in a society with endemic infrastructure challenges and where every odd appears to be against innovation, bravery and audacious steps. Nigerian youth who therefore go out of their way to create solutions that inspire others and contribute to the development of the nation deserves path on the back as initiated by Grand Oak.

Obviously, the Lord’s Achievers Awards, as admitted by Ike, stands out from contemporaries in the country for a multitude of reasons including its selection process, its strict judging criteria, and the calibre of members on its council of Lords. Most importantly, it is a recognition-based platform and not a popularity competition. The honorees that go through rigorous selection processes are those truly deserving of the title of a Lord’s Achiever. They are individuals who have made significant contributions in their respective fields and to the community at large.

Who is Lord’s Achiever
Putting it directly, Obinna Ike, described Lord’s Achiever as a young and vibrant individual whose bold and audacious idea disrupts their market and chosen field of engagement; he or she is confident and unflinching in his/her resolve to develop innovative solutions and ensures that his end goal is impact.

Expatiating on the award, Ike said the achievers work behind the scenes to deliver solutions to humanity’s needs without recognition. “Hence, we established this recognition platform- the Lord’s Achievers Awards to encourage resilience and boldness, and to champion innovation amongst our target audience, giving individuals more reason to keep at their craft”.
He was quick to remind stakeholders that Lord’s London Dry Gin is a premium Gin brand of distinctive character created for distinguished gentlemen and women, successful individuals, inspiring distinction, and with unapologetically distinct personalities. “The Lord’s Achievers Award therefore celebrates young Nigerians between the ages of 25-40 who live and radiate the Lord’s Gin DNA- Distinct, Unique Inspiring, Vibrant and Young”, the Director of Marketing and Innovation reiterated.

“These people have made an impact in their chosen fields, inspired many with bold and audacious innovation, placed Nigeria on the map by others’ recognition of their skills, and displayed the reward of perseverance and resilience. These are values that align with our core at Lord’s Gin DNA”, Ike emphasised.
The Lord’s Achiever is therefore outstanding and exemplary in leadership; he/she lays down processes for sustainability of his/her platform and ensures the transfer of glory trans-generation and the awardee is strong, resilient and chooses to fight on despite the increasing brain-drain in Africa.

This award, according to a report “comes against the backdrop of Africa’s increasing brain-drain, and mounting pressure to usher in a new era of ease and prosperity. By championing this event Lord’s London Dry Gin seeks to encourage youth whose work continue to make impact while kindling within others a desire to contribute to national socio-economic development”.

In 2022, the award categories were expanded to accommodate more sectors and celebrate more young Nigerians doing great work. The celebrated honorees of this year’s awards cut across a broader scope of the Nigerian ecosystem, as they challenge social issues and deliver innovative solutions.
Some of the awardees this year include Tosin Olasiende, the Founder/CEO of Ladda and Money Africa, a platform that enhances financial literacy and investments leveraging technology. Akintola Adensami, Co-founder and CEO at Spleet Africa, a property tech solutions company whose work realizes a basic amenity needed by all – Shelter. Jennifer Onyebuagu, the Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Voriancorelli, also won by solving food insecurity by bridging the gap between actors in the agricultural value chain.

How Lord’s Achievers are Selected?
A Lord’s Achiever is selected based on the innovative and audacious skill, resilience and placing Nigeria on world map by others’ recognitions. Other important elements include: reach and scope of their work; duration since they commenced the work or initiative; and the potential for scale and future impact on wider socio-economic outcomes.
However, the Achiever is selected by the Council of Lords- an eight-man executive jury of agency experts, business professionals, and social impact advisors, set up to determine a shortlist of final nominees based on the initial recommendations/nomination of perceived achievers by a sample size audience.

Ike threw more light on the long-term impact of the award program on the youths. He said the platform seeks to raise a generation of youth confident in their abilities to take on challenges, as they are handed the batons for success in a race to greatness. Every year, a different set of young achievers are recognized and other youth, across the country, join in the celebration with raised hopes and renewed vigour to discover their own passions and do more. “We hope that they, in turn, become achievers, inspiring the next generation”.

Nigeria, like other ailing economies needs help. Fingers are pointed at the youth, Lords Dry gin efforts in showcasing the energy, skills and innovativeness in these youths brings to the fore their importance in assisting to turn the economy around. This Lord’s Achievers Award initiative needs encouragement to explore and sustain the burning spirit in the Nigerian youth.

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