By Peter Uzoho
The founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Mr. Tony Elumelu, has reiterated his commitment to championing Africa’s economic development by supporting and training a new generation of entrepreneurs, whose successes can transform the continent, deliver opportunity, job creation and social impact.
Elumelu, who is also the chairman of the United Bank for Africa Plc, (UBA), told young African entrepreneurs that, “Africa’s future is in the hands of Africans.”
He said this in Lagos, at the 2018 annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum. The event which was the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, brought together African entrepreneurs, private and public sector leaders and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem.
“Our foundation and its unique approach of training, mentoring and funding has proven that entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking economic transformation of our continent.
“I believe so strongly that success can be democratised and if we can match ambition to opportunities, this extraordinary generation can achieve anything.
“With TEFConnect, we have created a tool, that provides a digital platform to host ideas, champion success and demonstrate Africans ability to use the most advanced technologies to take charge of their economic destinies,” Elumelu added.
Now in its fourth year, the forum marked the graduation of the 2018 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, following a rigorous nine-month period of training, mentorship and funding, which brought the total number of beneficiaries of the programme to 4,470, with over 300,000 applications received to date.
One of the highlights was the unveiling of TEFConnect, a revolutionary digital community that brings together the complete entrepreneurship ecosystem across Africa and beyond, including entrepreneurs, investors and the broader business community on one platform, connecting them digitally with three vital elements for success – capital, market and business tools.
Speaking on the importance of putting the right policies in place, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, who was in attendance, said: “Nothing is changed or developed on its own. People must get up, speak, have discussions and change the dialogue.”
Since its inception, the TEF has empowered African entrepreneurs across the continent with a $5,000 non-refundable seed grant, a bespoke training programme designed specifically for the African environment and access to a dedicated group of mentors, significantly contributing to economic growth, job creation and revenue generation.
The Forum was attended by key players in the private and public sector including Governor, Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulahi Abubakar; former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, among others.