THE Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded in 2010, is an African-funded philanthropic organisation dedicated to fostering African entrepreneurship by increasing the competitiveness of the private sector.
The foundation makes an impact through business leadership and entrepreneurship development programmes, impact investments, research, and policy advocacy.
According to the Tony Elumelu Foundation website, the registration process for young African entrepreneurs to win a seed capital prize of US$5 000 each has begun, despite the deteriorating economic picture caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that ravaged the world.
The Elumelu family has promised US$100 million to 10 000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme in order to train, advise, and invest in them.
The goal is to boost the African economy by more than US$10 billion and create at least one million new jobs.
Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu is a well-known figure, not only in his native Nigeria and across all 54 African countries, but also in international forums, particularly those addressing the critical issue of youth entrepreneurship. Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Transcorp are all led by Elumelu. He is a very wealthy investor and philanthropist. In 2010, he founded the massively influential Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), which through its TEF Entrepreneurship Programme empowers young African entrepreneurs from the continent’s 54 countries. Elumelu, a Nigerian philanthropist and billionaire, has stated that his age was not an impediment to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Standard Trust Bank, making him one of the youngest bank CEOs in Nigeria at the age of 34.
“I owe my accelerated career and successes to two things: hard work and luck, and I know first-hand how these factors are inextricably linked in success,” Elumelu wrote on Facebook on January 18 2023. Elumelu attributed his rapid success to hard work and good fortune, adding that his successes and failures have always served as motivation for him.
“My successes — and yes failures — have always driven me to create opportunities for young people. I believe our youth have the talent and the zeal to change the world.”
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Elumelu’s inclusive economic philosophy of Africapitalism inspired the Foundation’s flagship Entrepreneurship Programme, which is based on the belief that Africa’s social and economic potential can only be unlocked through collaboration between the public and private sectors to create a sustainable and thriving environment where African entrepreneurs can access critical elements of support in the early stages of their businesses.
According to the website of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, they are playing a key role in championing, developing, and empowering entrepreneurs in Africa, and over the years, the Foundation has been able to empower over 18 000 entrepreneurs and create over 400 000 direct and indirect jobs, and this number is growing.
Nora Chaynane, TEF Entrepreneur alumni and founder of Shine Space, founded Shine Space, Morocco’s leading socio-educational initiative to bridge the knowledge gap and guide students to the right career path.
“I am proud to be now a great innovator, rising to the challenge, and implementing lessons from the training and mentorship components of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.
The EdTech business is appealing to me because I believe that it is the future of many industries including healthcare and finance,” Chaynane said.
In my opinion, every African should dream big and work hard in order to realise their wildest dreams. Obstacles are an unavoidable part of the journey. The 2023 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme for African Entrepreneurs aims to provide US$5 000 seed funding to successful applicants, and it is open to Africans from all 54 African countries who have scalable business ideas or a business that has been operational for no more than five years.
Chaynane is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur who is pioneering product innovation and data-driven decision-making. She has over four years of hands-on experience leading projects through all phases of the software development lifecycle using Agile / Scrum principles and has experience in product management and machine learning engineering.
“I can’t list one big accomplishment because there are many moments in my life that make me proud; there is a special feeling about seeing the positive impact generated by something you created from scratch; that feeling fills me with peace and joy, and all of this was born from the TEF mentorship,” she said.
In my opinion, every African should dream big and work hard in order to realise their wildest dreams. Obstacles are an unavoidable part of the journey.
The 2023 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme for African Entrepreneurs aims to provide US$5 000 seed funding to successful applicants, and it is open to Africans from all 54 African countries who have scalable business ideas or a business that has been operational for no more than five years.
- Denhere is an investigative journalist based in Zimbabwe. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or WhatsApp at +263773894975.