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.
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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