At the annual gathering of African entrepreneurs, held in Lagos at the weekend, the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Mr. Tony Elumelu reiterated that entreprenuership remains the only path to independence and sustainability.
The event hosted almost 1,000 women and men from 54 African countries at the second TEF Entrepreneurship forum.
The forum celebrated the 2016 cohort of Elumelu Entrepreneurs, selected from over 45,000 applicants and each of the 1,000 entrepreneur was eligible to receive up to $10,000 to implement their business plan.
In his keynote address, Elumelu said: “I salute those here, our ambition is that you become ambassadors for entrepreneurship in Africa – you are a generation of wealth creators, who share our commitment to the economic and social transformation of Africa.
“Let me tell you about Momarr Mass Taal, the CEO of Tropingo Foods, who has turned his first $5,000 seed capital received from the Foundation last year, into a $1.2 million revenue business. I want many more of these! However, as excited as I am about the 2,000 entrepreneurs that we have selected, this gathering is in some ways bittersweet, as I reflect on the 63,000 ideas we were unable to select – our commitment is to all entrepreneurs in Africa.”
Elumelu challenged all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, multilateral organisations and all individuals invested in Africa’s economic development to join hands with the Foundation to support the wider African entrepreneurial community.
“We need to support our entrepreneurs because extreme poverty and economic opportunity rarely coexist in the same place.”
He also announced partnerships with regional institutions such as the African Development Bank, ECOWAS, and others including Coca Cola, the International Trade Centre, Nigerian Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Entrepreneurship.
The two-day forum gave entrepreneurs the opportunity to share and gained knowledge, built cross-border partnerships and connected with investors and policymakers.
In her opening remarks, the CEO, Avon Medicals, Trustee of the Foundation and wife of Founder,Mrs. Awele Elumelu, welcomed the entrepreneurs to Lagos and commended their drive and effort in finding solutions to some of the continent’s most pervasive challenges.