Entreprenurship : Tony Elumelu Foundation On The Move Again

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

Officials of Tony Elumelu Foundation appears  set to host the largest  gathering  of entrepreneurship Programme   in Africa   between July 26 and 27, 2019. The officials may have  arrived  at the date to accommodate   important signatories who might want to participate in the event both within  Africa and other parts of the world including Europe.

As a prelude to organising the event, officials of the Foundation, with the support , of Tony Elumelu, Chairman , United Bank of African, UBA, one of the leading Commercial Banks  in the country  were said to have made elaborate preparation for the event that  would be hosted in the iconic Trascorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria.

 There are indications  that Presidents  Paul Kiagame, who has been able to transform a war ravaged and poor  Rwnda , into a fast developing African country , going  by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, growth rate  development index , records  and  Macky Sall , of Senegal  would  be at the event to  engage  Elumelu, the founder and, who incidentally is the UBA , Chairman  in an  intimate  open house discussion.

As a follow up to the open house discussion between Elumelu, the Foundation  Chairman  and the Rwandan and Senegalese Presidents expected to  be at the event ,   , according to an insider would be  a   masterclass  and panel discussions  with the leading speakers, Presidents Kiagame and Sall of , Rwanda and Senegal, who are expected to present the keynote addresses including  sector experts, from Africa , Europe, North America,  Asia and other parts of the world . According  to a source,   they are expected to engage   the attendees  of the Foundation Forum  in ”specialised  training sessions   in order to share insights  that would deepen their knowledge  ad understanding of business  which would go a long wy to refine their skills.

It  is also expected to feature  a pitching event ., where selected Entrepreneurs  are expected to deliver exciting presentations  on the goods and services  provided  to a distinguished panel of judges drawn  from different parts of the world.

  The Value News learnt  that that 5,000 African Entrepreneurs  would be at the two -day event  in Abuha, Nigeria. Note that  the Forum  was the culmination  of the  Foundation  yearly Entrepreneurshp  Programme. This year alone, the Foundation was said to have   mentored, trained and seeded  over 3,000  young Africans, selected from  over 216,000  applicants. The Foundation sources disclosed  the annual event provides  a ”unique opportunity  for young men and women , from the 54 Aafrican countries, including Nigeria,  Elumelu, the Foundation Chairman, home country., to meet , learn, and network with the broader African and entrepreneurship  ecosystem.

Many believe that it is  an opportunity , for political leaders and policy makers  to meet face to face with a new generation  of African business leaders who are currently transforming  the continent’s economic trajectory.   There is no gain saying the fact that the Presidential   Convening  is a highlight of the  high profile Forum , which  business watchers,  said  would allow the  African countries Entrepreneurs  in attendance   to closely engage  the political to give  their first hand testimony  of  the crucial  role  which the government could play  in catalysing   growth   and encouraging  business ambition in their respective countries.  

Thisis the first time,  the Foundation officials would be hosting the event  in Abuja, the Seat of power in Nigeria, an indication that  leading  policy makers in the  Buhari  Administration,  business leaders, development agencies and  the entire   African entrepreneur ecosystem   including the  alumni  of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship programme  are are to gather at Abuja for the yearly event. 

Recall that at last year’s event,  the Foundation   launched the  EFConnect , the digital working platform  for the African Entrepreneurship programme, thus facilitating  their networking, mentorship   and most importantly, business beyond borders.  Past political leaders in African Countries  who had attended the Foundation  yearly Forum include  Presidents  Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana,  Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya,  Olusegun Obasanjo,   Lionel Zinsou, a former Prime Minister of Republic of Benin and now  an Advisory Board of the Foundation and Yemi Osibanjo,  current Vice President of Nigeria.

This is an indication that the  Tony Elumelu Foundation, popular, TEF, has gained wide recognition that past and president political leaders in African saw it as a resource pool for the the advancement of the development programmes for their  respective countries in Africa. There is no country that have identified with the Foundation in the last five years whose  home grown Entrepreneurs are  not doing well and promoting  job creation  which have gone a long way to reduce unemployment in the country.

This may have informed the reason why   why Business analysts insist that   the Foundation ‘s  determination  to bring  about change in scale, across the African Continent  and its relentless focus  on Entrpreneurship   is ”rooted  in inclusive  philosophy  of Afri-capitalism, which was said to have been created by Elumelu,  the founder.

Ifenyinwa Ugochukwu: CEO, tef

The basic of  foundation of the Elumelu found-Afri-capitalism  is to empower  economically African Youths , described as the Continent future  wealth creators .At the onset, Elumelu, the founder of the Foundation, was said to have committed  a whopping $100 million  to the project as each beneficiary gets a non refundable loan of $10,000, across the Continent including Nigeria for the next ten years.

In the last five years, the Founddation was said to have  ”funded,  mentored and provided business training  to over 7,500 start-ups and small scale businesses in the 54 countries that make up the African Continent.

A n elated  Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, TEF, who could not hide her feelings on the all important  Entrepreneurship Forum  being organised by the Foundation   said ”it is an opportunity   for everyone   to make commitment  on the advancement  of the African Entrepreneurship ecosystem and scale  the impact of the Entrepreneurs  to accelerate the development of the Continent”.  She noted that the Foundation was ”inspired to invest on future African Entrepreneurs    by the stories  received from the Entrepreneurs who  are  making  appreciable impacts in their chosen areas of business in their  respective countries.  

  According  to her the Foundation sponsored Entrepreneurs   are ”creating  jobs,  and impacting positively on their local Communities and the Continent in general”.  Appealing to those  who are in a position to do what Elumelu, the Chairman of the Foundation is  currently doing in the African Continent  to build future Entrepreneurs , to invest in   them now, noting   that it is the only way  ”they could reap the African dream tomorrow”.

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