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Entrepreneurship: Buhari commends foundation for empowering 5000 Africans

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja 
13 November 2021   |   2:45 am
President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu for his remarkable vision in training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs

President Muhammadu<br />Buhari PHOTO: FACEBOOK/Femi Adesina

Elumelu Tasks Beneficiaries On Hard Work, Disciple

President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu for his remarkable vision in training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, describing it as “a truly lasting legacy.”

The President said Nigeria remains very proud of Elumelu, describing him as a global icon whose business and philanthropic interests continue to create opportunities for growth and development not only in Nigeria but Africa as a whole.

“I would like to specifically congratulate the Tony Elumelu Foundation on this extraordinary humanitarian act of funding 4,949 entrepreneurs.

“I am particularly pleased that this year alone, the Tony Elumelu Foundation will fund 1,522 Nigerian entrepreneurs from all the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of the federation. This unifying act by a private-sector leader is commendable and worthy of emulation by others,” the President said.

He noted that entrepreneurship and youth empowerment were important components of the work of his administration, adding: “We believe that they are the key to the future and recognise that by empowering our youth. We will build businesses that in turn sustain our economy.”

The President congratulated all the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation beneficiaries unveiled in Lagos yesterday, wishing them well in the future.

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 would have a lifetime access to the Tony Elumelu Foundation alumni network.

Founder of the Foundation, Elumelu said: “To you young African entrepreneurs – work hard, dream dreams, and be very disciplined. You must continue to think of 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 entrepreneurs will go a long way in lifting Africa out of poverty. I am happy that our female entrepreneurs are doing very well, with 68 per cent representation this year.”

He added: “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 commence 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 programme, 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 endeavour and to support it.”

Also speaking at the event, Assistant Administrator, UNDP/Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa stated: “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. Our joint ambition is to empower 100,000 young African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years across Africa, recognising that entrepreneurship is the only way dreams can be realised.”

Speaking, Secretary-General, Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti stated: “On behalf of the OACPS, I would like to heartily commend the Tony Elumelu Foundation for this extraordinary achievement. We are proud to have partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and our longstanding partner, the European Union to unlock the potential of 2420 young African women through this TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, providing mentorship and funding, to grow and sustain these small businesses.”