I am Jiraji
I am Jiraji Kelvin Tersoo, a farmer, software developer who has a university degree in Electrical/ Electronic Engineering. I am the eldest son of five children, so I was forced to grow up really fast when my parents divorced in order to support my mother. The responsibility and resulting hardship gave birth to my desire to excel.
How it all started
Three years ago, I read a book that changed my life. It became clear to me that those who are going to change the course of things in my generation will be those with a deliberate bias in Entrepreneurship. I decided that whether one is a doctor, an accountant or a farmer, you will need to have an entrepreneurial mindset at the crux of your thinking. Armed with knowledge and the belief that agriculture and technology has the potential of breaking the poverty cycle for a lot of people, I resigned my paid job as a banker to start Agritech Hub, Nigeria, an innovative space for developers, entrepreneurs and startups, to build a tech ecosystem for startups and developers, with the goal of accelerating the application of technology to agriculture to make the sector more appealing to young people.
My Tony Elumelu Foundation Encounter
I came across TEF by a stroke of luck. One day, while I was attending to a customer of my then-employer, a bank, the customer placed a copy of one of the national dallies on my desk. While we waited for his BVN registration to be complete, I picked up the newspaper, in one of the news items, Mr. Tony Elumelu was profiled alongside the TEF entrepreneurship programme. I picked up the fact that the application for the next cycle of the programme would commence on January 1, 2017. I decided I would apply but did not turn in my application until a few days to the close of the application window.
TEF has opened up doors of opportunity for me, beyond the seed capital I used to start my business, it has placed on me the responsibility of becoming an enabler of people (a solution provider). I was selected as a semi-finalist in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Yunus and Youth Global Fellowship and currently a finalist in Ayada Lab. I will be a panelist at African Cross Roads, November 2019 in Mombasa, Kenya.
My TEF Entrepreneurship Forum Experience
I attended the 2017 TEF Entrepreneurship forum and was shocked at how diverse the audience was. Attending the forum exposed me to a broad spectrum of knowledge and insights that eventually influenced my business activities Secondly, I met and networked with other entrepreneurs across Africa where we shared ideas, learned from each other and formed partnerships that still thrives to date. The high point of it all was the opportunity to sit down under the tutelage of Mr. Elumelu.
The top 3 Challenges I have encountered in business are; (1) Multiple taxation (2) Convincing and motivating my team to work without a substantial salary on projects. (3) Having to convince stakeholders particularly farmers and young people in my business ecosystem to embrace and leverage technology.
I approached each of these challenges with an open mind hoping to learn something new in the process of resolving them. I have also learnt that everyone deserves the opportunity to express their differences as these differences are what give birth to new ways of thinking and Innovation.
The Next Few Years
In the next 5 years, we plan to champion the cause of precision farming and Agric technology in Benue State Nigeria – the food basket of the nation. This we hope to achieve by helping farmers to farm smart, connecting farmers to market opportunities and opening up the space for agricultural participation by allowing the public to invest in Benue farmers using crowdfunding.
Lessons I would like to share
First is Consistency – As entrepreneurs, we must stay consistent and focused in the face of all odds and secondly, great things are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people. I urge entrepreneurs to always remember “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work”
Phone Number: +2347035652264
LinkedIn: JIRAJI KELVIN TERSOO