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TEF seeks support for entrepreneurs to reverse dependence on aid in Africa


Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony Elumelu (left) and Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo during the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum 2018 and the launch of TEF Connect, organised by the foundation in Lagos …yesterday.

Acknowledging that many economies transformed their economies through entrepreneurship development, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has emphasised the need for the public and private sectors to support entrepreneurship development in Africa.

Besides, the stakeholders noted that improved support for small businesses will help to reverse the trend whereby many African countries depend on international institutions and developed countries for aid.

The Chairman, TEF, Tony Elumelu, explained that the best form of investment is investing in Africa’s young and energetic entrepreneurs to create the much needed job opportunities and wealth creation in the 22st century.

Elumelu during the TEF Entrepreneurship For 2018, said entrepreneurship is vital to creating employment, eradicating poverty and most importantly creating wealth for Africa.

In his words: “We believe that this is an opportunity for Africa. There is no better time than now to invest in the continent’s hardworking and energetic entrepreneurs. They need the support of both the private and public sectors. This is why TEF is resolved to creating a platform for these young and vibrant entrepreneurs with great innovative business idea irrespective of where they come from.”

“So we committed $100 million to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs. You can see the energy and aspirations in them. They want to succeed and they need our support to succeed. We know they can go far if they have our support.

“These young Africans justify our confidence, hope and trust. We have so far supported 4000 entrepreneurs and we realise that the more we support, the more we need to support and through advocacy and international partnership in our bid to transform Africa deploying the use of entrepreneurship.

He also unveiled the TEFConnect which he said was designed to connect entrepreneurs – mentors, investors, accelerators and incubators – all over the world, enabling them to learn, network, leverage business tools and more Also speaking at the event, Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, commended TEF’s quest to drive entrepreneurship development in Africa, saying that entrepreneurship is imperative to unlocking Africa’s potential.

“TEF is our future. Governments must support this initiative because it is the building blocks to economic growth in Africa. We know that the developed economies of the world have got to where they are because they focused on developing their SME sector and if we tow the same direction, we will be creating opportunities for economic growth in Africa,” he said.

According to him, Africa has all it takes to become one of the leading continents of the world.“If our natural resources are well harnessed, we would be the continent giving out aids not being the receivers of aids. This is why TEF is so practical to the future of the continent. We have to encourage TEF to do more,” he added.

The Governor, Bauchi State, Abdullahi Abubakar, said the TEF initiative touches the hearts of potential and aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa, as he advised governments across the States to join hands with TEF to drive the development initiative in Nigeria.He said the African continent with about 50 per cent youthful population is key to changing the African narratives, stressing that all hands must be on deck to nurture the African youth for global competitiveness.

The Director, Partnerships, Monitoring and Evaluation, TEF, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, said economic development is in the hands of the private sector, pointing out that the $100 million commitment of TEF has been deployed to train over 10,000 entrepreneurs in 54 countries.

“We have plans to raise over 1000 entrepreneurs every year in the next 10 years; so far we have received over 151,000 applications. We will be doing more going into the future because we believe in the dreams and aspirations of our young and hard working youths,” she said.

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