By Stephen Ubanna .
Those who think that with the devastating effect of the Asian country of China, emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, on the global economy, it would affect Tony Elumelu Foundation in the disbursement of loansto o African Entrepreneurs or The United Bank For Africa, plc, popular, Pan African Bank, holding its quarterly business Workshop series, would be disappointed. This is because both TEF and UBA, had continued their business plans to fund and assist the AFRican young Entrepreneurs in their various ways.
It instructive to note that that Elumelu, a Leading African Philanthropist and Investor, who sits atop as Chairman , of some notable blue chip Companies Board of Directors in the country including serving as the Group Chairman, United Bank For Africa, popular, who had launched a $100 million Foundation for empowering, 10,00 African young Entrepreneurs, on the average of 1000 Entrepreneurs per year over a ten year period had not ceased from doing so.
Ever since the Foundation was launched in 2015, the Management had never defaulted in disbursing the $5,000 Non-Refundable loan to the young African Entrepreneurs. It is on record that for the six years that the Foundation had operated uninterruptedly in disbursing the Loan, over 9,000 young African Entrepreneurs from the 54 African countries have benefited from it.
Many had expected the Foundation to stop giving other the loans to other Entrepreneurs and start-ups following the devastating effect of the COVID 19, pandemic, on the global economy, TEF. They got it wrong. The pandemic may have emboldened TE officials at the instance of Elumelu, the founder in his efforts in empowering emerging young Entrepreneurs across the African Continent were said to resumed in doing what it knew best: giving out a Non-Refundable soft loans to the young African Entrepreneurs as a way to grow their respective countries economy and thus, reduce their unemployment level .
As a prelude to disbursing the Non-Refundable loan this 2021, , to the successful Applicants, the Foundation was said to have opened up Its digital Platform, www.tefconnect.com for Applications by prospective Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, within the African Continent. A Statement by the Foundation said the Application would be closed on March 31, 2021
Given an insider information to the Foundation 2021 , disbursement of the soft loan to the young African Entrepreneurs, Somachi Chris-Asoluka, Director of Partnership and Communications in the Foundation, appealed to the ‘’African growing and active youth population to take advantage of the unique opportunity for such a loan and apply before the expiration of the March 31,2021, deadline.
He had said that the young African Entrepreneurs full participation in applying for the TEF Loan would lead ‘’to the economic prosperity of the many African countries’’ insisting that ‘’it is time for the young African Entrepreneurs ‘’to embrace this much-needed financial support system to sustain the African economic activity’’.
The TEF, Director, may have gladdened the heart of the young African Entrepreneurs when he disclosed that ‘’the Foundation will continue to see exponential change in all sectors of the economy across the Continent’’.
Recall that the Foundation had rolled out the drums to Celebrate its ten years of impact in empowering a new generation of young African Entrepreneurs in 2020, who were said to have received a world-Class business training from experts engaged by it and mentorship. The young African Entrepreneurs who were said to have scaled the Foundation stringent hurdles to obtain the Non-Refundable loan were said to have been received $5,000 each to start up their own SMEs.
This year, which marks the disbursement of the 7th tranche of the Non –Refundable $5,000 loan, , the Foundation plans to empower no fewer than 3,500 young African ntrepreneurs in Collaboration with its global partners. One of such global Partners is the African Development Bank, AfDB, which has Akinwumi, Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, as its President.
The bank , which had shown its Commitment to sponsoring young African Entrepreneurs by partnering with TEF, was said to have supported the Foundation disbursement of the $5,000 Non-Refundable loan with the release of $2.5 million in 2019 . It was said to have also released $2.5million in 2020 and an additional$42.5 million could have been released to the Foundation in the last quarter of 2020, which could have made the total release to be $7.5million to TEF in two years.
Another of such global Partners to the TEF, was the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, which was said to have disbursed $8.5million to 2, 684, Entrepreneurs in the Sub-saharan African region to further Celebrate the economic empowerment generated by TEF ,in 2019.
Investigations by The Magazine shows that ever since 2019, that the ADB and the UNDP, began to Collaborate with TEF in the empowerment of the young African Entrepreneurs, the annual number of beneficiaries have increased astronomically from the usual 100 to 5,150.
On the part of UBAplc, Nigerian’s leading Money Deposit Bank ,MDB, in its continuous support to catalyse the growth and Sustainability of SMEs in Nigeria and the African Continent in general, the bank has concluded arrangement to hold its next business Workshop on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
The event which is held on a quarterly basis is part of ‘’the bank’s capacity building initiative for Professional business Leaders’’, with an insight on business practices on how the Entrepreneurs could build sustainable business empire in a Challenging environment like Africa., and which had been aggravated by the COVID 10.
An insider had confirmed that the Kennedy Uzoka led bank , will host the founder, Accounting Hub, Chioma Ifeany-Eze, described as a seasoned Accountant, with several years of experience across various Multinational Companies including PWC, via a Microsoft Team. This is because the Workshop had been planned to hold via Microsoft Teams because of the COVID 19 pandemics.
Given his Accounting background, Ifenyi-Eze, according to a Statement by the bank will be speaking on ‘’budgeting and forecasting for business growth’’. He is also expected to give tips to the young African Entrepreneurs and intending start- ups ‘’on practical ways to ensure that their Enterprises survive and thrive’’ . This in addition to giving them the essential strategies on how ‘’ to recover and mitigate loses especially in these difficult operating environments in Africa. And beyond.
Samson Aneke, UBA, Group Head Customer and Retail Banking , was said to have assured the young African Entrepreneurs that UBA is interested in ensuring that its Customers run businesses that could stand the test of time, stating that the business series Workshop would assist to run and arm the business Leaders with all the knowledge and experience required to take their Enterprise to the next level. He haad opined that ’’even in this period of the COVID 19, Pandemic , businesses are still making it big , promising to give more insight to it, on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, during the Workshop proper.
Indeed, not may many are surprised that UBA , could hold such an all-important Workshop which is helping many SMEs to grow in the African Continent. The bank, described as the leading MDB, in Africa, currently has its footprint in 20 African countries and presence in the International scene , particular, the North American country of the United States, US, United Kingdom, UK, France, and Germany, and thus, connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, Commercial and Corporate banking. This in addition to being Innovative across border payments and remittances, Trade Finance and ancillary services.