Chief Tony Elumelu, a leading philanthropy in Nigeria has received a presidential ovation from President Muhammadu Buhari as he gave out the sum of $5,000 to empower each of the 5,000 young African entrepreneurs across African countries.
The beneficiaries of the fund were selected from about 400,000 applications using criteria such as innovation, performance, and growth potential to create jobs and eradicate poverty on the continent.
The entrepreneurs, both new start-ups and existing small businesses, had undergone world-class business training, mentorship and coaching and will give them a life-time access to the Foundation alumni network.
Reacting to the gesture in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, President Buhari commended Tony Elumelu for his remarkable vision and interventions, describing the moves by his Foundation as worthy and lasting legacies.
“Funding, training, mentoring entrepreneurs from all the 54 African countries is a remarkable vision and truly lasting legacy.
“Nigeria remains very proud of Mr. Elumelu, a global icon, whose business and philanthropic interests continue to create opportunities for growth and development not only in Nigeria, but also in Africa as a whole.
”I would like to specifically congratulate the Tony Elumelu Foundation on this extraordinary humanitarian act of funding 4,949 entrepreneurs!
“I am particularly pleased that this year alone, the Tony Elumelu Foundation will fund 1,522 Nigerian entrepreneurs from all the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory of the Federation.
”This unifying act by a private sector leader is commendable and worthy of emulation by others.
“Entrepreneurship and youth empowerment are important components of the work of this administration …we believe that they are the key to the future and recognize that by empowering our youth, we will build businesses that in turn sustain our economy.”
In a speech at the occasion held in Lagos, Tony Elumelu asked the young African entrepreneurs to work hard, dream dreams, and be very disciplined.
“You must continue to think of impact. The entrepreneurship journey is not linear – there are ups and downs, but by staying focused and resilient, ultimately success will come your way.
“The future of our continent is in your hands. What you do as entrepreneurs will go a long way in lifting Africa out of poverty. I am happy that our female entrepreneurs are doing very well, with 68% representation this year.
“To our African leaders – these young, intelligent, energetic hardworking, resilient Africans are ready to go. We need to keep creating the right enabling environment to enable our young ones to succeed.
“We must realize that their success is success for all of us on the continent. We must prioritise them because nations and continents that prioritise their people, succeed.
“To my fellow business leaders, let us realise that in the 21st century and beyond, it is about impact, legacy and about how we work together to power people out of poverty.
”It is such a great feeling to see 5000 young Africans also commence their own entrepreneurial journeys today.”
Speaking virtually, the Director-General, International Cooperation and Development, European Commission, Mr. Koen Doens said that partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) had embodied the mutual spirit that ultimately African growth cannot neglect the huge potential, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit that harbours so many Africans, especially young people and women.
“I remember very well, a few years ago in Brussels when I first met Tony Elumelu at one of the events his Foundation was organizing.
”Both of us were struck by how there was such a clear match between his vision on how he could support African entrepreneurship and the European Union’s own vision on how we wanted to support African entrepreneurship.
“Ever since, our partnership has embodied this same spirit that ultimately African growth cannot neglect the huge potential, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit that harbours so many Africans, especially young people and women.
”I am extremely glad our partnership is moving into this active stage, and I am very glad that over 2400 women will benefit from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s training programme, and will get seed capital to support their ideas.
“I am extremely happy that at the European Union, we are able to be part of this great endeavour and to support it.”
Also speaking, the Assistant Administrator, UNDP/Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa said that partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation on youth entrepreneurship was informed by the belief that Africa will only succeed when young Africans are given the opportunity to excel.
“This is what has inspired us to invest more than $20 million in emerging African entrepreneurs since we entered into our partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
“Our joint ambition is to empower 100,000 young African entrepreneurs over the next ten years across Africa, recognizing that entrepreneurship is the only way dreams can be realized.”
Source: Persecond news.