Over the weekend, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) opened what is considered the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs at its 2nd Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lagos, Nigeria.
The forum celebrates the 2016 group of Elumelu Entrepreneurs – selected from over 45,000 applicants from across Africa – and their completion of the program’s innovative 12-week online training.
After completing the program, Elumelu Entrepreneurs become members of the largest entrepreneurial alumni network in Africa.
“The TEF Forum is the centerpiece of the TEF Entrepreneurship Program; and through it, we are giving from the perspective of empowering recipients, instead of making them dependent on us,” explained Tony O. Elumelu at the forum. “As a result, our entrepreneurs will change the face of Africa, creating a wave of dynamic African businesses, bringing wealth to their communities and countries, and driving economic growth across the whole continent.”
According to the business guru, as part of the TEF Entrepreneurship Program’s 10-year, US$100 million commitment, participants are now eligible to receive up to US$10,000 seed capital to implement their
business plans from sectors as diverse as agriculture and fashion.
Elumelu was proud to announce that 36 percent of those chosen this year were women – a significant increase on the 24 percent from the first year – adding that entrepreneurs range from 18 to 54 years old. Also speaking, the CEO of the foundation, Parminder Vir, said: “We are proud to have established a unique platform for African entrepreneurs to forge relationships and business partnerships. In doing so, we are creating an ecosystem that fosters innovation and collaboration on a scale few believed possible.” Vir said the forum allows entrepreneurs to share and gain knowledge, build cross-border partnerships, and connect with investors and policymakers.
The first day features plenary panels, master classes, TED-style talks and sector specific networking opportunities, while the second day would be a policy-led gathering, focusing on improving the enabling environment, he added.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) was established in 2010 and is the leading philanthropic foundation championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the African continent.
The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent.
The foundation’s flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Program, is a 10-year, US$100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs capable of changing the face of business across Africa.