Tony Elumelu Foundation Funds 5000 African SMEs From 54 Countries

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 The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), leading philanthropy empowering African entrepreneurs from all 54 Afri­can countries, has selected 4,949 entrepreneurs from across the continent for its 2021 Entrepre­neurship Programme.

The 2021 beneficiaries were selected from a pool of over 400,000 applications, based on their innovation, performance, and growth potential to create jobs and eradicate poverty on the continent.

Consisting of both new start-ups and existing small businesses, the 2021 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs have undergone world-class busi­ness training, mentorship and coaching and will have lifetime access to the Tony Elumelu Foundation alumni network.

The founder, Mr Tony O. Elumelu said, “To you, young African entrepreneurs – work hard, dream dreams, and be much disciplined. You must continue to think of the 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 an entrepreneur 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 realise 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 commences their own entrepreneurial journeys today.”

Speaking at the event, Di­rector-General, International Cooperation and Development, European Commission, Mr Koen Doens stated: “I remem­ber very well, a few years ago in Brussels when I first met Tony Elumelu at one of the events his Foundation was or­ganising.

“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 programmer, 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 endeavor and to support it,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, As­sistant Administrator, UNDP/ Director, UNDP Regional Bu­reau for Africa, Ms Ahunna Ezia­konwa said, “Our partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation on youth entrepreneurship is informed by our 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.”

Speaking, Secretary-Gener­al OACPS, Georges Rebelo Pin­to Chikoti stated: “On behalf of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), I would like to heart­ily commend the Tony Elumelu Foundation for this extraordinary achievement.

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