Yesterday, Entrepreneurs.ng was live at the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum 2018, convened by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Africa’s leading entrepreneurship philanthropy. This 4th edition hosted over 5,000 entrepreneurs, the broad investor community, government and policymakers, leading developmental organisations, private sectors representatives, the media and partners. The program’s aim is to connect Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs to the thriving investment and entrepreneurial communities in Africa. This year’s event is themed “Empowering African Entrepreneurs”.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) was founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who is passionate about Africa’s economic development. He believes that Africans will build Africa through entrepreneurship which is the basics of his philosophy; Africapitalism.
About The Tony Elumelu Foundation
In 2015, the Foundation launched its flagship programme – Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. The Programme is a 10-year $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs for the economic development of Africa. Its goal is to invest in businesses that will generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.
Now in its 4th year, TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4,470 entrepreneurs; 4000 having been funded directly by Tony Elumelu Foundation and 470 funded by Partners of the Foundation
From the Tony Elumelu Foundation, over 10 million dollars has been invested in the programme infrastructure. The entrepreneurs benefit from a 12 week entrepreneurship training programme while being guided by mentors.
Speech By Parminder Vir, OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation
The elegant Parminder who is referred to as a mother to the entrepreneurs had this to say about the foundation:
“The programme is set out to create jobs, to generate revenue and make a social impact. The entrepreneurs trained so far are generating $52 million in revenue in 18 months that they have been trained compared to $18 million that they were generating before they joined the programme.
In terms of jobs, the entrepreneurs have created 12,000 jobs in 18 months compared to the 4,000 when they first joined the program. 62% of those businesses are fully operational today. The conventional wisdom is that 75% of businesses fail and close down within the first three years. So, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the TEF entrepreneurs had defiled conventional wisdom and that being said, African entrepreneurs deserve some accolade. 62% of those entrepreneurs that came through the programme from 2015 are fully operational. 29% are partly operational because these set of entrepreneurs came with just business ideas.
On gender, people talk about gender representation. The program started with 24% women business owners, this year, it is 41%. So we can see that women are increasingly represented”.
How People Feel About The Program
Parminder Vir, OBE also gave insights on the feedback on the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme from entrepreneurs:
“Mr Tony Elumelu has invested an extra ordinary amount of money in the program infrastructure and 70% of the entrepreneurs say that, this was one of the best training programme they have experienced. It was a mini MBA. It was the hardest thing they did. 61% say that this was their first seed capital and over 50% say that this was their first experience with having a mentor”. These feedback shows that the programme is working. The programme is having an impact.
Tony Elumelu is leading a campaign for international organisations to join him in supporting entrepreneurs. He has been visiting many international bodies and most of them are listening. When everyone joins in this fight, our nations will be built.
Ifeyimwa Ugochukwu who is the head of partnership introduced the partners. Tony Elumelu Partners include:
Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
They have been supporting Africa but they feel it is time to start doing things differently by supporting entrepreneurs according to the country manager. They believe that tech innovation is in the heart of sustainable growth in Africa and job creation. This is why they partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support tech entrepreneurs. They have a €Imillion partnership with TEF to empower 210 additional young and /or female tech entrepreneurs in selected East and West African countries; capacity building and training.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
They announced a commitment to support 200 entrepreneurs last year and they fulfilled that commitment this year through the Tony Elumelu Foundation and will continue to do more next year. The country representative said that humanitarian aids has to include entrepreneurship in it and entrepreneurship brings reconstruction of lives of people who have been shattered by war and violent. They have a $1million partnership with TEF to sponsor an additional entrepreneurs in the post-conflict areas in Nigeria.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The United Nation in Nigeria are committed to supporting the Nigerian government in implementing the sustainable development goals. One of the pillars of those goals is job creation. Entrepreneurship is at the heart of job creation and their commitment is to ensure that the public sector will help in scaling the private sector investments in the entrepreneurship engagements. Jobs cannot be created by government, jobs can only be created by the private sectors. They had $200,000 partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs with $5,000 seed capital funding, training and mentorship for their businesses.
A $50,000 partnership with Tony Elumelu Foundation to support 10 Nigerians with $5,000 seed capital funding, training and mentorship for their businesses.
Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
A risk-sharing guarantee framework for loans for Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs to access loans from UBA branches across Africa up to €300,000 if their business qualifies; research and mentorship.
Presidents And Governors Were Present
Like we said, the event was attended by the high and mighty. The president of the Republic of Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta gave a keynote speech. Also in attendance was the President of Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo. One thing the two presidents have in common is their believe in Mr Tony Elumelu’s Philosophy which is Africapitalism.
President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana said something interesting and I quote “How can the richest continent on the face of the earth house the poorest people on the earth? Africa cannot survive on aids. We should be the ones giving aids to other nations and continents. We need to empower our entrepreneurs and create an enabling environment for the entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive”.
When asked his stand on African governments’ borrowing, he said “the key to borrowing money is to create assets that will help us pay the money back. Borrowing is not wrong. The why of the borrowing is the most important”. The two presidents are pushing policies that will make entrepreneurship flourish in their respective countries.
The executive governor of Bauchi state has this to say when he was called upon “To anyone who wishes well for Nigeria and the African continent, we must join hands and support entrepreneurship”. He believes that youths and entrepreneurship is the future which is why he spared time to attend the event.
There was also a pitch competition which was coordinated by the beautiful Mayeni Jones, a BBC Correspondent.
The pitch competition was between five pre-selected businesses and the winner of the pitch gets a one on one support from the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The businesses who pitched are:
Exportunity: One market place for all African companies founded by Vital Sounouvour
Ecoprune: A company co-founded by Sandra Ogunde designed to promote waste recycling among households, schools, businesses and organisations.
Nomad: A brand building bags that can charge mobile device on the go.
Cash Madam: Cash Madam helps you in managing your business and is founded by Mahasian Dhaouafi
Cure: Cure is building prosthetics for amputees helping extend abilities.
The Judges For The Pitch
Sam Nwanze: Chief Investment Officer, Heirs Holding Limited.
Owen Omogiafo: Executive Director, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp).
Lanre Da Silva Ajayi: Creator and owner of the internationally recognised clothing brand, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi.
Oluchi Orlandi: Entrepreneur and television personality who has worked with top brands like Victoria’s Secret.
Alessia Balducci: General Manager of Seedspace Nigeria, a learning and working environment that empowers tech entrepreneurs.
Feedback From Judges
The judges advised that they should always have the right verifiable figures. On competition, know your competition. Who is the competition and why are you better than them. They also stressed the importance of the team in building a business, the team will either make or break the business. The team support is very important. If you are starting out in a field that you are not familiar with, you need someone with at least 5 years experience in that field according to Alessia Balducci. Another important thing is the market, if the market size is 1Billion, who out of the 1Billion are you targeting? Are you targeting Lagos, Abuja etc. You can’t target everyone when you are starting that is why you need to be specific.
The lucky winner for the pitch competition was Cash Madam.
Interview with Dr Awele V. Elumelu
Another highlight of the programme is the interview of Dr Awele V. Elumelu, Chairperson of Avon Healthcare Limited, GAVI Champion for immunisation in Africa by the beautiful Eleni Giokos of CNNMoney Africa Correspondent. Dr. Awele Elumelu spoke about her passion for ensuring that Africans get affordable health care services and all the investments they are making in that regard.
The event was indeed eye-opening to all the opportunities that are possible when we come together to solve our own problems instead of waiting on the world to solve our problem. Africans will build Africa. This can be done by entrepreneurs and there is no better time to be an entrepreneur in Africa than now.
Photo Credit: Tony Elumelu Instagram Page