Young Ghanaian business executive to speak at Harvard Business School

With the growth of African cities, especially within the urban centers, demand for high-quality commercial and residential real estate in both West and East Africa is also rising.

On the back of this, a business executive who runs a multi-million dollar business in the real estate industry in Ghana, Emmanuel Kojo Jones, CEO of Empire Domus and managing director of Empire Concrete has been invited by the world’s premier university, Harvard Business School (HBS) to share his success formula in the real estate terrain in Africa at a conference of over 1,500 attendees from all over the world.

This year’s conference which is themed: Africa Forward; Forging New Alliances For The Future, however, promises to celebrate and promote awareness of existing innovative solutions that have been deployed in Africa, in addition to motivating attendees to create more innovative solutions to overcome the challenges in Africa.

On 15 and 16 February, the 21st edition of the conference among other things seeks to leverage on the experiences of African Entrepreneurs to share their wealth of knowledge and experience as well as address questions regarding the role African Entrepreneurs play in future development and the challenges African property developers currently face.

Jones comes from a strong lineage of business entrepreneurs. He acknowledged that “business DNA flows through his blood”.

With an educational background mostly from UK universities, Jones holds an LLB from London Metropolitan University (LMU), Business diploma from LMU and also holds an MBA in oil and gas management.

He is also a qualified civil and commercial mediator.

Jones drive and passion for creating employment and opportunities for people landed him in business. After studying in the UK, he joined New Generation Construction in 2012 where he worked as a business development manager. He later started building luxury homes in the UK for sale.

Entrepreneurship key to unlocking Africa’s economic development, says Tony Elumelu

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.

The African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative Calls for Applicants

AWEC is a one-of-a-kind, high-touch, 12-month business and management development learning program. AWEC focuses on applied learning and collaborative experiences to ensure immediate business impact and the creation of a pan-African network of entrepreneurs, experts, and allies.

The program is open to women who were born in and do business in Africa; members of the diaspora are encouraged to apply, but their business or NGO must have an impact on the continent.

“At the heart of AWEC is a cooperative of women entrepreneurs from across Africa who will not only gain the skills and network needed to advance their businesses, but also pay it forward to the next generation of innovators and business owners,” said Christopher Caine, president of the Center for Global Enterprise. “AWEC is a catalyst for impacting not just the individual business or NGO, but entire
communities all across the continent.”

AWEC’s innovative blended learning model leverages:
● Live video learning sessions led by world-class business and academic experts
● Peer sessions that apply new learnings, develop soft skills, and build a pan-African peer network
● Course activities – delivered through a highly-interactive online learning platform – that encourage knowledge application and cross-cultural collaboration
● Mentoring by senior business professionals
● Constructive feedback on assignments from instructors, teaching assistants, and peers
● Leadership Summits that take place twice per year in Africa and provide in-person training and networking opportunities

“What sets AWEC apart from other entrepreneurial training programs is our unique, applied learning model,” said Karen Sippel, managing director of the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative.
“Our cohort members immediately apply what they learn to their enterprises, creating instant impact.

This impact is evidenced in mid-program feedback from our current cohort, in which 60% of participants reported an increase in their level of business management expertise and 50% reported an
increase in revenue growth.”

For more information, please visit www.thecge.net/awec. Applications for the 2019-2020 program year will be accepted on AWEC’s website (https://www.thecge.net/awec/apply/) from December 5, 2018 to December 18, 2018. 

Philanthropic support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and other donors make it possible for CGE and AWEC to underwrite the program costs for all participants. 

About the Center for Global Enterprise 

The Center for Global Enterprise (CGE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute devoted to the study of global management best practices, the modern corporation, economic integration, and their impact on society. One focus of the organization is to develop insights that help current and future business leaders build enduring enterprises in our globally integrated economy. CGE designs and manages programs that enable individuals from around the world to have equal access to leading-edge business knowledge. 

Johnson & Johnson has Launched a USD50,000 Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0

Now in its second year, the 2018 Africa Innovation Challenge is open to innovators and entrepreneurs from Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana among other African countries. The challenge focuses on identifying scalable and sustainable solutions to six major health and environmental problems for Africa’s population.

“The growing number of innovation hubs throughout Africa is sparking a new generation of entrepreneurs who are innovating and finding new solutions for issues facing their communities,” said Josh Ghaim, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

“Our goal is to expand our support for the region’s entrepreneurs by pushing the boundaries of creative solutions to meet several areas of urgent need. With six new solution categories, Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 represents an extraordinary opportunity for the region’s growing community of innovators to showcase new ideas with the potential for broad societal impact,” added Ghaim.

On his part, Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson noted that the company was working with entrepreneurs around the world to relentlessly pursue innovations that advance and enhance the health of everyone.

“This is an exciting time to be part of Africa’s rapidly advancing innovation ecosystem, which recognizes that people and patients across the continent are waiting for urgent solutions. The Africa Innovation Challenge provides an important platform to support emerging entrepreneurs and help accelerate the development of unique, sustainable health care and environmental solutions.” Said Kumar

The Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0 is designed to address the critical unmet needs of the continent and local communities in Africa while providing support to Africa-based entrepreneurs in creating innovative healthcare products and services.

Among the selection criteria, entries must demonstrate the potential for scale from proof of concept stage to long-term sustainability. Challenge participants with the best solutions will receive up to US$50,000 in funding and mentorship from the global network of scientists, engineers and business managers within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies to bring new solutions forward.

Submissions are open to all African countries from one or more individuals, teams or companies; subject to certain eligibility requirements set out in the terms and conditions for the challenge. The submitted healthcare solutions will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the following criteria: Idea submission addresses at least one of the six challenge categories, Idea submission is innovative and creative, Idea submission is scalable. The Idea submission must also outline how the award would help the applicant(s) reach a critical milestone within the timeframe of a single year and provides a full commercialization plan.

The first Johnson & Johnson Africa Innovation Challenge, launched in November 2016, sought novel ideas with a focus on three critical health areas: promoting early child development and maternal health; empowering young women; and improving family well-being.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs graduates celebrate living the legacy

The ceremony, which was held at The Pivot at Montecasino (https://www.tsogosun.com/southern-sun-montecasino/meetings-events/the-pivot) with Rams Mabote, celebrity speaker, radio personality and entrepreneur as MC, commemorated 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, and marked the dawn of a new chapter in the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme.

Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, says, “It has been 13 years since Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs took its first brave and hopeful steps with a handful of guesthouses in Soweto. We have steadily evolved to meet the changing needs in the entrepreneurial landscape – and today we have 240 beneficiaries. Of these, 152 are enrolled in development with us while the rest receive benefits to make doing business easier for them. 128 own and operate accommodation establishments, and 82% are South African women. There are also an additional 125 beneficiaries of the HCI Supplier Club, which was created with Tsogo Sun’s shareholder, HCI Limited.”

Tothill remarks on the privilege of following the journeys of the entrepreneurs, “I have watched them come to recognise that their voices can be heard and their stories identified with, that their sphere of influence is greater than realised, and that their impact is powerful. Today’s graduates are joining the ranks of enterprises at different stages of development, but all with a passion for developing and growing their businesses, and for building a proudly South African legacy that will continue long into the future.”

In the spirit of local growth – for their beneficiaries and the country – Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs has partnered with Proudly South African and sponsors membership of the organisation for the emerging businesses it supports. Happy MaKhumalo Ngidi, Proudly South African’s Chief Marketing Officer, says, “Proudly South African is truly privileged to endorse Tsogo Sun’s Entrepreneur programme (https://www.tsogosun.com/citizenship/entrepreneurs). Enterprise and supplier development initiatives such as this are important in providing entrepreneurs with access to new markets to which they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed. This programme speaks exactly to the work Proudly South African is doing in promoting local procurement by local companies from local companies. We look forward to seeing the success of the new ‘intake’ of entrepreneurs match that of past recipients of Tsogo Sun’s training and mentorship.”

As the graduates were introduced onto the stage, short films about them and their businesses – ‘The Legacy Series’ – were shown. These videos were developed by Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs to give the businesses additional professional exposure on social media and in the public domain.

The graduation consisted of four categories:

Second year to alumni (13) – Alex Ceramic Art in Design, Gemkids, Intaka Yempakamo Co-Operative, Ronem Maintenance Solutions, Sumting Fresh, Rifumo Bed and Breakfast Guesthouse, Vulamehlo Widows Support Group, Before Time Indlondlo Events, Sibahle Tours, Relax Spas, Ekhaya Nelspruit Guesthouse, Tlhagola Gardening & Cleaning Services, and 3@ Marion Guesthouse

Certificate of Foundation Skills for First Years Class of 2018 (7) – Smooth Energy, Enhlecreatives Photography & Design, Glenz Cakes, Back to Basics Sports Academy, Norman’s Tours and Shuttle Services, Alabanza and Alegria Trading, Dev’or Cosmetics and African Roots (Seven Sisters Wines)

Certificate of Completion First Years Class of 2018 (8 individuals in 6 businesses) – Roba Monakedi Guest Lodge, Asipiko Events and Marketing, CBK Master of Books, The Zone eMdeni Pub ‘n Grill, Greatone Infinity Design, and Fly Free Pest and Weed Control

Certificate of Merit First Years Class of 2018 (18 entrepreneurs from 15 businesses) – Be-Dazzled Party & Décor Hiring, Kasi Brothers Events, Asipiko Events and Marketing, Tych Labour Solutions, Geotra Exporters, V-A Virtual Assistant, Hitech Industrial Services, MGD Protection Services, World of Real Life Dreams, Bahati Tech, Luthando-Nto General Trading Enterprise, OBT Waste Management, Magauta Designs and Projects, Lowe Furniture & Décor, and Dimzique Jewellery

The 2018 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Achiever Award was presented to Lowe Furniture & Décor owner Velaphi Mpolweni who won R20,000 from Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs and a business bursary from Tsheto Leadership Academy valued at R10,000 entitled ‘Master 1 – a new state of consciousness’, as well as a hamper from Proudly South African. Mpolweni started his business in 2016 and designs and manufactures custom-made and contemporary furniture, steel products and ornamental accessories using solid wood, steel and glass. Mpolweni says, “We are constantly developing new product designs that are beautiful, enduring, environmentally friendly, compatible with our landscape, and in line with ourslogan, ‘Evolution of style, enhancing the beauty of Africa’, because Africa is a beautiful continent.”

Tothill congratulated Mpolweni on achieving the highest marks in the University of Cape Town business management course. “Velaphi Mpolweni overcame adversity         and is building a legacy both for his family and for the country. We are immensely proud of all he is accomplishing and wish him the best, as well as our continued support, into the future.”

To all the graduates, she said, “We continue to celebrate and encourage this remarkable entrepreneurial spirit that exists in all of you and we look to a future wh

 

ere we can continue to provide ‘ordinary’ South Africans running their own businesses with this extraordinary platform to become successful instruments of positive change in our country.”

Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 13 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles. For more details, visit https://www.tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter @TsogoSun or like on Facebook.com/TsogoSun.  To learn more about the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs, visit them on Facebook.com/TsogoEntrepreneurs.

TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has directly impacted 4,470 entrepreneurs in 4 years – Parminder Vir

The annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum is one of the most vibrant aspects of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. This year’s TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the fourth edition of the annual Forum, is taking place on October 25 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. The Forum has grown in scale every year with over 5,000 entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem players expected to converge on Lagos for this year’s Forum. This year, we are celebrating the 2018 beneficiaries of our Entrepreneurship Programme, bringing the total beneficiaries of our USD100 million seed capital, mentoring and world-class training to 4,470 African entrepreneurs. The Forum is also an opportunity for the entrepreneurs to engage with and learn from established entrepreneurs, global investors, leaders from the African public and private sectors and developmental organizations.

In keeping with the Foundation’s track record – most recently with President Macron of France – of bringing politicians face-to-face with the new generation of young businesswomen and men shaping Africa, the Forum will include an interactive session with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu. We will also launch TEFConnect, the world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs, dedicated to connecting African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The programme will also include a fireside chat with TEF Trustee, Gavi Champion for Immunisation in Africa and CEO, Avon Medical, Dr. Awele Elumelu, moderated by CNNMoney Africa Correspondent, Eleni Giokos, on “The Role of the Private Sector in Furthering Economic Development across Africa”.

 

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is four this year. Looking back, what would you say is the impact of the programme so far, especially on past beneficiaries and their businesses?

In just four years, we have directly impacted 4,470 entrepreneurs, and we are beginning to see the results – they are creating jobs, generating revenues and making a social impact through their businesses. This year, we began to track the progress of the 3,010 entrepreneurs who graduated between 2015 and 2017 and our study of just 1,472 entrepreneurs who responded to the survey shows they have generated USD52,486,234 after completion, compared to USD18,155,241 before they were selected for the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. In terms of jobs, the same 1,472 entrepreneurs have created 11,971 jobs compared to 4,034 before they were selected for the programme. Furthermore, our study shows that upon completing the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, 62 percent of these businesses are now fully operational while 29 percent have become partly operational. This also explains the phenomenal growth in jobs (15 percent of the entrepreneurs now employ at least 10 people) and revenue (13 percent of the entrepreneurs now generate above $50,000 annually) recorded after the Entrepreneurship Programme.

With regard to gender representation, over the years, the Foundation has made it a priority to ensure that both female and male entrepreneurs have an equal opportunity to apply to the programme. When the programme was launched in 2015, 76 percent of the applicants were male while 24 percent were female. As a result, male applicants accounted for 71 percent of the entrepreneurs eventually selected into the programme while female applicants accounted for only 29 percent. Given this significant gender disparity, the Foundation developed strategies to create awareness about the programme amongst women and encourage them to apply for the programme. To achieve this, the Foundation ensured that advertisements and promotions of the programme were targeted towards women. On social media, profiles of successful female entrepreneurs on the programme were used to encourage aspiring female entrepreneurs to apply. Female alumni of the programme took this a step further by organizing workshops and trainings to assist them in their application. The result of all these activities was that by 2018, the gap had significantly reduced – male applicants accounted for 58.8 percent of total applicants, down from 76 percent in 2015, while female applicants accounted for 41.2 percent, up from 24 percent in 2015. Similarly, in terms of selection, the number of selected male applicants fell to 65 percent, from 71 percent in 2015, while selected female applicants increased to 35 percent, from 29 percent in 2015.

In terms of the impact of the Seven Pillars of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, the 1,472 entrepreneurs who responded to the survey, we see that both the 12-week enterprise toolkit and the mentorship received at least a 70 percent high impact rating while 61 percent of them indicated that TEF provided them with the first seed capital for their business. So clearly, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is having an impact. We will be launching the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme 2015-2017 Progress Report at the TEF Forum on October 25, which will provide deeper analysis and insights of impact across sectors, regions and business location.

 Considering Africa’s specific growth needs and peculiarities, does the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme place priority on certain sectors of the economy?

TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is and will remain sector-agnostic. We have over 30 sectors represented in the programme across the 54 African countries. The agriculture sector has, however, consistently accounted for more of the selected entrepreneurs on the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme since the launch of the programme in 2015, without any deliberate effort by the Foundation to attract entrepreneurs from this sector. This reflects a rising interest of young Africans who seek to operate on different segments of the agriculture value chain using more modern technology and innovations than their predecessors.

The recent rise of start-ups in the ICT sector on the continent continues to illustrate the increasing significance of technology across the continent accounting for over 8 percent of the applications. Besides the development of core IT software and applications, these ICT entrepreneurs are creating solutions that are relevant to a plethora of industries. Given that the world is rapidly moving into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the relevance of this sector in ensuring that Africa is not left behind cannot be overstated. Manufacturing has also emerged as one of the popular sectors amongst the TEF entrepreneurs accounting for an average of 7 percent of applicants annually.

Four years into the 10-year programme, it is evident that African start-ups and SMEs will find the gaps in the market and develop innovative solutions to meeting these gaps for their products and services.

Beyond the annual forum, is there a follow-up mechanism whereby the beneficiaries draw continuous support from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Foundation as well tracks the progress of the beneficiaries?

Paramount to the success of TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is our continuous engagement with the entrepreneurs who have successfully completed the programme because we are building to last. We maintain contact with the entrepreneurs both online and offline. Through the TEF Online Hub, we have built Africa’s largest online network of African entrepreneurs for cross-border business growth, skills, and knowledge-sharing. TEF Hub is the go-to destination for TEF Alumni and our value-add partners, who provide ongoing products, business information, advisory services, innovation capital, market access, skills and training, and supply chain integration for TEF Alumni. This is also the platform through which we promote the emerging entrepreneurship networks across Africa and globally, important for business opportunities, building cross-country networks and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

In 2017, we launched TEF Entrepreneurship Awards to recognise the achievements of TEF entrepreneurs from the 54 African countries to raise their profiles and inspire investors and policymakers to recognise and support African entrepreneurs. We also launched TEF Forum Pitch Competition, and we have added TEF Africa Market Place to the TEF Forum where TEF Entrepreneurs can showcase and sell their products and services to a diverse and inclusive pan-African gathering. 

At the 2018 TEF Forum this month, the Foundation will launch TEFConnect, Africa’s largest digital platform, connecting African entrepreneurs globally. Positioned as the “Facebook for African Entrepreneurs”, the platform will provide three main benefits to its users – empower African entrepreneurs to buy and sell across countries and regions in Africa’s largest digital marketplace with digital traffic reaching millions of people; access free business tools such as financial planning calculators and marketing templates, and enable entrepreneurs to promote their businesses to potential investors and other partners. Through TEFConnect, we are scaling our impact by connecting African entrepreneurs all over the world on a single platform and increasing trade opportunities.

Apart from the seed capital, are the beneficiaries of the programme able to leverage on TEF’s connections to access additional capital from banks and other sources across Africa and beyond?

Access to finance remains one of the biggest challenges for African start-ups and SMEs. To enable TEF entrepreneurs to access capital, we have formed a range of diverse partnerships with financial services providers and investors to mobilise both early-stage and growth-stage financing. Contrary to the perception that African start-ups are risky investments, we have ample evidence that they are bankable provided they are given the right business development support as proven by our entrepreneurship development programme. Based on this, we have encouraged commercial banks to embrace SMEs and to set up SME desks as part of their services. We have signed a partnership with Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) to provide risk guarantee scheme with United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. In 2018, we will further diversify and deepen the partnerships between financial services providers and investors with the TEF entrepreneurs. Through our engagement with African start-ups, we are aware that financial literacy is the weak link and we have enhanced our financial management modules to support them. We are also aware that the finance sector also needs to be educated to better serve start-ups and are working with angel networks, promoting public private grants and technical assistance, venture capital, private equity, and financial institutions. TEFConnect will build an investor network on the digital platform.

 Interest in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has continued to grow annually resulting in increased number of applications. Are there plans to expand the scope and number of beneficiaries?

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme started in 2015 with 20,000 applicants and by 2018 this figure has grown to 151,692 from across 54 African countries. Given the rapid increase in the number of African start-ups applying, in 2017, we began to scale and replicate the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme with strategic partners who can support the selection of additional entrepreneurs to the programme. While TEF provides the training and mentorship for their businesses, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has sponsored 200 entrepreneurs in the post-conflict areas of Nigeria with a commitment of $1 million seed capital. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided USD200,000 to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs with USD5,000 seed capital funding. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German development agency, has committed €1 million to empower 210 additional young and female tech entrepreneurs in selected East and West African countries. Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is providing a risk-sharing guarantee framework for loans for Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs to access loans from UBA. They have also committed finance for joint research to track the impact of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. We are also pleased to share that Indorama Corporation has pledged USD100,000 to support 20 Nigerian entrepreneurs with USD5,000 seed capital funding in 2017 and 2018. Other partnerships include Microsoft, Sage One and GE, for ongoing business development support services and access to markets for the TEF Entrepreneurship ProgrammeAlumni. They will serve as blueprint for others to follow as we actively engage the participation and contribution of the partners to support sponsorship of additional entrepreneurs, and value-add partners.

 What would you consider the major challenges in the past four years since inception of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme?

The biggest challenge has been managing success. We never imagined the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme would grow so rapidly. In 2015, we received over 20,000 applications from 50 African countries; in 2016 it was over 45,000 from all 54 African countries; 2017 saw this number increase to 93,000 and in 2018 we had 151,692 applications from 54 African countries. Every year we select 1,000 unique entrepreneurs onto the programme. The challenge is managing the expectations, dreams and hopes of those who are not selected. They remain part of the TEF Network and we share information and value-add opportunities, but we realized this is not enough. So, in 2018 we decided to build an open source digital platform, TEFConnect, where those not selected and others can access business tools, investor network, marketplace, mentoring, and learning content. TEFConnect will be a place for knowledge exchange, solve common problems, learn useful tips, form virtual networks across the continent to drive business growth.

 Given that governments are major drivers of policy reforms, what kind of relationship do you have with governments across Africa?

The importance of government in establishing and maintaining healthy and competitive enabling business environment cannot be overstated. The economic ecosystem is determined by the policies and functionality of government. Their effectiveness is critical to the success of SMEs. The Foundation continues to engage with government policymakers and leaders. At the 4thedition of the TEF Forum, we will welcome the President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to engage in an interactive dialogue with the TEF founder, Tony O. Elumelu (CON). In July this year we welcomed President Macron of France to engage with over 2,000 TEF Entrepreneurs shaping Africa. In 2016, we welcomed President of Sierra Leone to the TEF Forum. Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo joined the Forum in 2015 and 2017, to name but a few.

Over the past four years the Tony Elumelu Foundation has played its part in helping African governments see that innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth are inextricably linked. For example, Rwanda has streamlined its business registration procedures to such an extent that it only takes six hours for an entrepreneur to register and be ready for operation. Kenya’s economy has been transformed through entrepreneurship. The Ghanaian government’s Youth Enterprise Support initiative provides young entrepreneurs and innovators with opportunities to grow their businesses from idea to implementation to scale. Enterprise Uganda is a programme of the Ugandan government which offers young entrepreneurs training and financial literacy aid as well as a credit facilitation service that provides guidance around available sources of financing. These few examples are proof that attempts are being made to create entrepreneurial ecosystems that encourage and promote business development. While establishing a quality business environment is important, from our engagement with thousands of African entrepreneurs, the governments also need to address the broader issues: affordable power, reliable infrastructure, taxation, cross-border business, access to credit, etc. The Foundation participates and supports high-profile pan-African and international business conferences, summits, and forums to highlight the economic value of entrepreneurship to policymakers, promote entrepreneurship as good career choice and support the development of an entrepreneurial culture across the continent.

 Overall, what role would you say the TEF is playing in driving innovation and creativity across Africa?

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is driving innovation and creativity through its investment in the pan-African start-ups and SMEs. The selected entrepreneurs receive business development training through our 12-week Start-up Enterprise Toolkit, supported by mentors selected from around the world, business plan reviews by Accenture, followed by the seamless disbursement of direct seed capital to the qualifying TEF entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. This is innovation. Over the four years, we have increased the number of women business owners from just 24 percent in 2015 to 41 percent in 2018. We have invested in entrepreneurs in agriculture, ICT, fashion, manufacturing, education, and training, media and entertainment who are all developing sophisticated marketing and revenue models and driving innovation and creativity through their products and services. Many have successfully leveraged their association with the Foundation to win awards, access new funding, business support services, training, cross-border trade across Africa and the world generating revenues and creating jobs. The Foundation has built an investible pipeline of 4,460 entrepreneurs who are a viable investment opportunity for African and global business across the high growth sectors. Technology innovation and exchange are important drivers and we have built proprietary robust, scalable, and cloud-based multilingual technology platforms for applications, mentor learning, documents management, and alumni engagement. These platforms are the Foundation’s greatest assets, facilitating knowledge exchange, product promotion, networking and enabling the Foundation to connect African entrepreneurs across the continent. We have a database of over 300,000 African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries which is set to grow and will form the foundation for TEF Research Publications.

Getting the ball rolling: Eskom BIC win fast-tracks small business growth

Early stage investment and support is crucial for the success of new businesses; and a fast-growing solar business in Fourways is a shining example of the far-reaching impacts of the right investment at the right time.

Lamo Solar, the winner of the 2016 Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) in the Engineering and Construction sector, has grown from a start-up with a handful of staff to a firm with well over 40 employees in under two years, thanks to the growth propelled by its BIC win.

Tshibvumo Sikhwivhilu, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Lamo Solar, reports that he and co-founder Elmond Khoza had long been entrepreneurs, but their solar business was challenged by the fact that they were young, had no track record, and had little growth funding. “Winning the Eskom BIC gave us immediate credibility in the energy sector; and the prize money allowed us to buy specialised equipment to add to our service offering,” he says.

“As part of our prize, we exhibited at the Small Business Expo 2016, where we met representatives of the Energy and Water SITA. This led to a partnership that has created jobs for 40 graduates – over 25 of whom are women – and allowed us to focus on growing the business.  In addition, the fact that we won the competition and were able to demonstrate growth on the back of our investment in additional equipment, supported our successful application for additional funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency. This funding enabled us to procure more specialised equipment and offer added value services,” he says.

“This early stage support, exposure and networking at the Small Business Expo have been crucial for our growth in the past two years,” says Sikhwivhilu.

BIC 2018 entries now open

The annual Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC), run by the Eskom Development Foundation, is now open for entries from small black-owned businesses. The BIC offers prizes totaling R1.3 million and the winners are announced and showcased at South Africa’s premier small business development event, the Small Business Expo, which takes place from 6 – 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate. In launching this year’s BIC recently, Eskom Development Foundation CEO Cecil Ramonotsi said: “We urge all qualifying black-owned and registered enterprises to seize this chance. There is nothing to lose but so much to gain in the BIC.”      

In addition to hosting the BIC awards and showcasing the finalists at the Small Business Expo, Eskom also features leading Eskom Simama Ranta schools at the event. Simama Ranta is the Foundation’s annual competition recognising excellence in entrepreneurship education at South African secondary schools that excel in entrepreneurship education. All secondary schools with enterprise clubs that teach their learners the basics of running a business are eligible.

“Eskom’s long affiliation with the Small Business Expo, including its BIC innovator pavilion, make a significant contribution to our goal of making the event much more than just a showcase for small business, but also a concrete business development tool to support small business growth in South Africa,” says Carol Weaving, MD of event organisers Reed Exhibitions. “We’re always particularly excited to have the winning BIC innovators aboard at the Small Business Expo, showcasing the high level of business flair South Africans are capable of.”

The expo provides SMEs, businesses and investors with a versatile platform from which to network, explore new business partnerships, build brand awareness, interact with potential customers and investors and gain market exposure.  The event also offers three days of in-depth business development knowledge sharing in a series of workshops and talks.

For more information, go to www.buyabusinessexpo.co.za  and www.smallbizexpo.co.za

 About the Small Business Expo

The Small Business Expo, running alongside #BuyaBusiness Expo, is devoted to the development of small and medium sized enterprises, providing an invaluable platform for small businesses to market their businesses and interact with prominent business leaders and representatives from a number of corporate companies. The Small Business Expo is presented by Reed Exhibitions in partnership with the Eskom Development Foundation and its Business Investment Competition, and will be held from 6 – 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate.

The expo is supported by the Randburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Minara Chamber of Commerce, and is endorsed by the Black Management Forum (BMF) and approved by AAXO

 

For more information, visit https://www.smallbizexpo.co.za/

Being a Wellness Advocate: Bukky George

Determination and passion play vital roles in the success stories of many businesses. And for Bukky George, it came easy, especially because she is the kind that would gladly go the extra mile to succeed in life and business. With over 25 years’ experience in the retail health & beauty industry, Bukky George is a pro in her line of business.

The CEO of HealthPlus Nigeria is a registered pharmacist with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. She also belongs to some other professional bodies including, the General Pharmaceutical Council UK and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. Ms George holds an MBA and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. Over the past 18 years, her HealthPlus, Nigeria’s first integrative pharmacy, has grown to 76 branches with over 750 associates. Ms George aspires for HealthPlus to be the Boots Pharmacy of Nigeria. Her strengths include a strong academic foundation, a passion for excellence and a determination to raise the standards in healthcare. She is devoted to continuous learning. She provides strategic leadership for the HealthPlus Group. HealthPlus is committed to its mission of helping people achieve optimum health and vitality with a vision to be Africa’s number one for pharmacy, wellness and beauty. CasaBella is a one-stop store for grooming and beauty solutions for men and women. In 2014, Ms George was selected as one of 23 leaders from 18 emerging economies to participate in the 2014 Fortune/US State Department Global Women’s Mentoring programme. In the same month, she joined the President, World Bank Group; CEO, The Goldman Sachs Group; and CEO, IFC on a panel to discuss Access to Capital for Women Entrepreneurs and the signing of The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, the first-ever global finance facility dedicated exclusively to women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises.

She is also the chairman of Sanofi pharmacy advisory board. She is a merit award winner of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). She is a member of the Pharma Strategy Committee, charged with the mandate to chart a vision for pharmacy in Nigeria. To build on her passion for knowledge sharing, she mentors several people with a special focus on entrepreneurship. She is a multi-award winner for excellence in entrepreneurship, healthcare and community service; including winner Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) leadership awards for the entrepreneurship category; winner entrepreneur of the year (Access Bank), finalist entrepreneur of the year and finalist in the Business Woman of the Year category of the CNBC All African Business Leaders Awards. The super woman’s typical work life as the CEO of two well established enterprises involves creating, communicating, and implementing her organisation’s vision, mission and overall direction and culture. She also prioritises leading the development and implementation of the organisation’s overall strategy as well as lead, guide, direct and evaluate the work of the management team.

Ms George also loves to oversee the complete operation of the organisation in accordance with the direction established in the strategic plans that started it. And just so the business continues to grow in new innovations and technology, they make sure to maintain awareness of the competitive landscape and consider the opportunities for expansion for the benefit of customers.

 

“Entrepreneurship” – The Answer to many unemployment solution calls; says MB Tshabangu

South Africa is boasting high levels of unemployment, with the Youth being the most vulnerable victims as they are easily susceptible to unemployment, Entrepreneurship is the key to radically eradicating and decreasing high levels of Unemployment in South Africa.

Speaking to SABC News, Public Speaker, Lawyer, Philanthropist and Author of “Minding the Immigrant ” Mr Mduduzi Brandon Tshabangu, says that the South African Education system is to blame for formally teaching and systematically making the youth believe in conforming rather than innovating, in terms of development, creation and primarily manufacture, as a result of this, the youth has become heavily dependent and reliant on employment as a solution but says the Government has done enough.

“We are more prone to social welfare mindedness than individual and group activitus, supporting one another, pushing each other as the youth to do something, the government is doing enough”.

Tshabangu, is amongst many things, an Entrepreneur, started an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) project, MB Tshabangu and Leadership Centre which is based in Carolina, Mpumalanga, in June, the programme assisted 30 individuals, males and females to register companies for free. He also offered them a one-week workshop where different professionals were brought in with various professional and business skills, knowledge and experience to teach these business aspirants on how to start a business, management, tendering, procuring work and other various aspects of business.

“30 businessmen and women were born out of this project” said Tshabangu

Pretoria is next inline with a new initiative aimed at hight school pupil being the next plan for the businessman.

“Part of the next initiative is assisting matriculants with free tutorship in Maths and Science ” he said.

With Entrepreneurship starting to be a better and more broad, lengthier and far more viable solution to employment issues, Capital and Funding become new matters of concerns for inspiring entrepreneurs.

“The times have changed, we are no longer looking at employment as a solution, but creating employment. We need to start thinking of how to make sure another unemployed person gets employed, the advice we give to the young people is to move away from the ’employment mind’ and shift to job creation, everybody can start a business even without funding.

” I have started businesses myself without any funding, those businesses still stand today, so we are more now from the era of doing things the old way to a new way of saying technology is on our side” added Tshabangu.

The book “Minding the Immigrant” is about different advantages and disadvantages as far as social factors between South African citizens and Immigrants which also focuses on how we interrelate and engage in reference to how we treat immigrants and how they are treated in general” said the Author.

All aspiring and established entrepreneurs seeking help in the form of advice, general assistance and other matters regarding entrepreneurship, are welcome to contact MB Tshabangu via E-mail at Admin@Tshabangu.co.za or Tel: 012 341 4187.

“We try and help anyone who comes to us” concluded Tshabangu.

How Nigerian Entrepreneur Fareed Arogundade Is Building Workstation Into The WeWork Of Africa

With this expansion, millennial are swiftly capturing the market by influencing production and consumption. Not also forgetting the young entrepreneurs building start-ups and creating thriving tech ecosystems in Africa, from Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, to Nigeria. Indeed, Africa is becoming the rising star of the technology world.

To support Africa’s fastest growing population of budding entrepreneurs, virtual workers and freelancers, a technology or innovation hub needs co-working spaces to create support for these start-ups. Co-working spaces offer a new approach for like-minded individuals to learn, build valuable networks, thrive, and create a sense of community.

Fareed Arogundade is the founder of WorkStation, a coworking space that supports businesses in Nigeria. In three years, the WorkStation team have leveraged on the power of collaboration, community and partnership to grow their membership to over 2,000 businesses with plans to expand to Abuja, Port Harcourt and Accra.

Fareed recently opened up about his early beginnings, the growth of WorkStation, challenges as a startup in Nigeria, and future plans for expansion.

Tell us about your personal and professional background.

My state of origin is Osun State, Nigeria which is where my dad is from, but I was born and raised in Lagos. After graduating from secondary school, I relocated to Washington DC to study Finance at Howard University’s School of Business. Although I enjoyed my time in the states and learned a lot about myself personally and professionally, one thing was certain: I wanted to get back to Nigeria.

 

My ultimate goal has always been to make a social impact in Nigeria and across Africa. It’s important for me to give back to the place I’ve always called home. After graduating from Howard, I stayed in the US for about a year and worked with Austin Capital Partners. While there, I hatched a plan to set up an out-of-home advertising company in Nigeria.

After writing a business plan, I was able to raise the funds I needed through family and friends and I moved back to set up Twenty-One Media Limited. We operated our advertising business in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria. My curious mind was set on exploring the energy and real estate sectors in Nigeria, so I brought on partners in 2006 and transitioned away from my operational role in Twenty-One Media to focus on this new venture. One thing about me is that I’m full of ideas and once I lock in on a concept, there’s nothing that can stop me from executing it.

In 2009, I went into the downstream energy sector and set up my own trading arm through Vanguard Pacific Limited. Eventually, I was asked to join the team at Danium Energy Limited, a larger downstream trading company with offices in Lagos and a tank farm in Oron, Akwa Ibom State. In 2012, I was asked by the directors of BT Power Limited to serve as a Business Development Executive on the Ikot Abasi Power Project, where to date I still serve in some capacity.

An opportunity to get into the real estate sector presented itself in 2014 when I partnered with two friends to restructure a company called Midland Resources Limited, where we focused on residential real estate development in Lagos and Abuja. I have since transitioned away from all operational roles in Midland and only serve as a director in an advisory capacity.

From there, I started developing the concept to create a tech-enabled, shared office space, which is how the set-up of Workstation came about in April 2016. It’s been my main focus since then.

What was the original inspiration/thought process behind Workstation? What led to this decision, and how is your target market responding to this change?

In 2015, I needed an office for the upstream energy venture I was developing. I didn’t need a whole building or office to myself, so I thought about setting up virtual offices. Several conversations with some of my colleagues who understood complex business sectors gave me good insight on this idea. During a conversation with my brother, I mentioned the plan I had for the virtual offices and he suggested I look into what global brands like WeWork and Cove were doing. We thought through it and hatched a plan to create a tech-enabled, shared office space in the Nigerian market.

It’s been an interesting three-year journey where a lot of lessons have been learned, leading me in the right direction of perfecting our model. I’ll always continue to accept feedback and improve our operations because in everything in life, you should always want to learn. Overall, we’ve received great feedback and continue to strive to deliver the best quality service to our members.

 

We started operations in April 2016 and have been able to sign up over 2,000 businesses and individual members onto our digital platform that gives them access to our physical locations on-demand. Considering our membership is growing daily, I think we are on the right path.

Co-working is still a growing concept in Nigeria. How do you market co-working and the Workstation brand?

It’s a concept that’s growing pretty fast. In 2013 there were about 25 — now there’s over 250 coworking spaces which shows that Nigeria is catching on to the value of coworking. Workstation’s growth has been organic: referrals, word of mouth and social media. Most of our marketing material highlights the four major benefits (because there are a lot of benefits!) of coworking: infrastructure, collaboration, flexibility and affordability.

The most important aspect of being a Workstation member is the community. We welcome and support all industries. We constantly market that we are a tech-enabled space, but not a space just for the tech industry. That’s really important. We stay true to our brand in all we do — from maintaining a black, white and yellow color scheme in all our design work to always keeping our facility clean and neat, we’re Workstation through and through. Many individuals and businesses tend to work in silos, which limits creativity and innovation potential. All our key marketing tools focus on collaboration, the benefits of being part of a shared economy, and an overall sense of togetherness when you join our community.