Meet the Boss: Jason Njoku, CEO, Iroko Partners (Nigeria)
‘Meet the Boss’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series, where we pose the same 10 questions to business leaders across the continent.
1. What was your first job?
I worked on a market stall in Deptford [south-east London] selling fruit and vegetables – it was cold and I had to get up really early.
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
My mom – she was a single mother, always worked hard and never complained. She believed in me and supported me. I would never have been able to achieve what I have done so far without her.
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Motivation amongst my team. I want them all to be engaged with the company and excited about where we are heading. We’ve seen rapid [staff] expansion in the last 12 months, from 18 to almost 100. I spend a lot of time thinking about getting the right people for the team, that they are happy in their roles and that they have a clear vision set in front of them.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
5. What are the best things about Nigeria?
The hustle and bustle. People sustain themselves through ingenuity and hard work, making Nigeria and Nigerians super exciting to be around.
6. And the worst?
There are some issues around security in Nigeria, which can hinder business. And the electricity blackouts can also be a pain.
7. Your future career plans?
To continue growing iROKOtv into a global business and spreading the word that Africa is a fantastic place to live and work.
8. How do you relax?
Spending time with my fiancée, Mary, in Lagos – we watch a lot of films together.
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?
Opportunities abound! Africa’s your world, take it, enjoy it and grow it.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential?
By young people channeling their entrepreneurial spirit, rising up and seizing the opportunities that are out there.
Jason Njoku is the founder and CEO of Iroko Partners, the largest online distributor of Nigerian movies and music. Njoku says one of the company’s popular brands, iROKOtv, is the African version of popular American movie streaming service Netflix. The company recently received a US$8 million investment from Tiger Global Management, a New York-based venture capital and private equity firm.