Lagos — Seven years after it was founded the Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered thousands of individuals through its entrepreneurship programmes, creating thousands of jobs and influencing policy and becoming the leading driver of entrepreneurship across Africa.
This was stated by the founder of the foundation, Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Heirs Holdings in commemoration of the seven years of the foundation's existence. According to him, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum (TEEF) which brings together thousands of entrepreneurs across Africa annually has had direct impact on the lives of thousands of people.
He noted that the foundation's early years explored the impact of supporting businesses at different stages of development, "to identify where we could have the most impact. We forged meaningful partnerships and ran successful programmes.
"Our focus now is the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme - our US$100M commitment to empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries over a 10-year period, through the provision of seed capital, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. Our goal is to create over a million jobs and US$10billion of entrepreneurially driven wealth ," he said.
Just last month, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum was the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries in Lagos and united ecosystem players, including investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and policy makers.
The foundation had also signed strategic partnerships with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Agence Françoise de Development (AFD) to promote development activities that support entrepreneurship and to cover risk sharing to commercial banks in Africa for loans to entrepreneurs.
Elumelu noted that "as a young entrepreneur, I saw the potential of private sector investment to transform livelihoods. As we expanded the United Bank for Africa to nineteen countries across our continent, I saw our positive impact, measured not just in the bottom line, but in expanding access to finance, creating stable employment, breaking down trade barriers.
"I committed myself to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. Since 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has been dedicated to resolving Africa's most pressing social issues - empowering entrepreneurs and enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector.
"When we launched, we wanted to change the narrative on African development. We wanted to reframe the agenda, so that economic development would no longer be centred on foreign aid. We would show that Africa's transformation could and should be driven by Africans."