A Chat With Uka Eje

Uka Eje, a humble, nice, intriguing man. I was opportune to have a conversation with him. It was meant to be an interview but I’d love to write it as an article, because he said so much without words.

The first thing I noticed was that he is a successful farmer and this was long before I picked up the phone to speak with him. My usual reaction to this kind of people is to keep away, because they are always busy and I wasn’t wrong, but since the interview required that I spoke with him not just send a chat and keep away as I loved to do, I had to speak with him. I finally got the courage to pick up the phone and call him. Prior to then I had sent a message.

The phone rang as I anxiously walked back and forth the small hallway thinking, would he even pick? “Lisa right?” the voice on the other end asked.

“Yes” I replied, still very anxious.

“Can we talk later? I’m quite busy now.” I heard movements in the background.

“Yes, of course,” I replied.

Later that night I called to schedule the interview and he had sincerely forgotten that he asked me to call back (one of the pains of busy people). He sounded like he genuinely cared about anyone he came across. What I didn’t expect was the level of hospitality he gave, especially because I had a notion that I had disturbed him a lot in the past.

Uka Eje is a social entrepreneur who loves the Lord. He is an introverted person who likes to blend into the background. He loves God and loves preaching the gospel, he also loves to have fun and hangout with friends who share the same beliefs and values as his. He was recently featured in a publication of Forbes Africa under 30. He is the cofounder of Thrive Agric alongside Ayo Arikawe, who is the chief technology officer of Thrive Agric.

Thrive Agric officially started in 2017. Before then he had tried some other businesses which didn’t stand the test of time. He knew that he wanted to be an entrepreneur, so he started after school and “wasn’t opportune to work with someone” in his words. It wasn’t a really easy route especially since he didn’t want to be dependent on his parents, so he did a lot to fend for himself. Though his parents weren’t happy at first, they were okay with it after seeing its possibility for success. His failures in other ventures came, but the ability to bounce back was more important to him.

Earlier this year, the Thrive Agric team was picked for YCombinator which is an accelerator company (they help build promising startups, provide them with finances, mentors and materials for growth, they have funded Paystacks, Flutterwave and now Thrive Agric).

Thrive Agric has provided capital for about 18,000 farmers since they began. Capital here is in the sense of what the farmers need on the farms to grow, it’s not just money. Thrive Agric has achieved quite a lot and Mr. Eje is excited at the fact that goals can be set and exceeded.

Be bold. We mostly learn by starting. Don't be afraid of failure, it is usually a blessing. Be inquisitive, seek to know, look for healthy mentors, seek collaborations. Click To Tweet

I learned a lot from Mr. Eje but one of the most resounding advice I got from this chat came from this statement, “For entrepreneurs just starting, be bold, we mostly learn by starting. Don’t be afraid of failure, it is usually a blessing. Be inquisitive, seek to know, look for healthy mentors, seek collaborations. Also, when getting people to work with you, ensure that they understand your vision and are willing to run with it.”

He would love to answer questions and be of help when he can.

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