The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) on Friday opened the 2nd TEF Entrepreneurship Forum – the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs and the highlight of the annual TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The Forum celebrates the 2016 cohort of Elumelu Entrepreneurs – selected from over 45,000 applicants in 54 African countries – and their completion of the Programme’s innovative 12-week online training. On completing the programme Elumelu Entrepreneurs become members of the largest entrepreneurial alumni network in Africa.
“The TEF Forum is the centrepiece of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, and through it, we are giving from the perspective of empowering the recipient, instead of making them dependent on us,” explained Tony O. Elumelu. “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.”
As part of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme’s 10-year, $100 million commitment, participants are now eligible to receive up to $10,000 seed capital to implement their business plans. Elumelu Entrepreneurs represent sectors as diverse as agriculture and fashion. Thirty-six per cent of those chosen were women; a significant increase on the first year’s twenty-four per cent. Entrepreneurs range from 18 to 54 years old.
TEF CEO Parminder Vir OBE 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.”
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, masterclasses, TED-style talks and sector specific networking opportunities. The second day is a policy-led gathering, focused on improving the enabling environment.
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.