Entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic development, one of the continent’s industrialist has revealed.
Speaking to over 5,000 African entrepreneurs, private and public sector leaders and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem convened in Lagos recently, Mr Tony Elumelu reiterated his commitment to championing Africa’s economic development by supporting and training a new generation of entrepreneurs, whose successes can transform the continent, delivering opportunity, job creation and social impact.
“Africa’s future is in African hands,” he said before adding that his Tony Elumelu Foundation 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 democratized and if we can match ambition to opportunities, this extraordinary generation can achieve anything,” he said.
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. Uganda this year had 126 successful applicants.
“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,” he said.
Ghana president Nana Akudo-Addo underlined the importance of galvanizing the broad entrepreneurship eco-system, calling on public sector representatives to encourage, support and replicate the work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in their respective regions.
Speaking on the importance of putting the right policies in place, Mr Akufo-Addo said: “Nothing is changed or developed on its own. People must get up, speak, have discussions and change the dialogue.”
Since its inception, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered African entrepreneurs across the continent with a USD5,000 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. Over 300 budding Ugandan entrepreneurs have benefitted from the programme.