TONY Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at further promoting entrepreneurship in Africa.
The MoU was signed by Tony Elumelu and the Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, Lamin Manneh, in Lagos, at this year’s edition of Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, an annual gathering of African entrepreneurship ecosystem. With the partnership agreement, UNDP and TEF will work together to equip start-ups and existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with necessary entrepreneurship skills to enable them grow their businesses.
They believe that this support will help unleash the entrepreneurs’ potential to create wealth and jobs, and contribute to efforts aimed at reducing poverty and inequality across Africa, thereby helping countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, equal attention will be paid to developing systems that will enable the partners to monitor the performance of entrepreneurs and their contribution to Africa’s growth and prosperity.
Speaking on the partnership, Elumelu said: “Since the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme was launched, we have received over 150,000 applications, but every year we are constrained to support only 1,000. We are constantly seeking means to bring help to this much broader universe of deserving entrepreneurs. We want to give this group that we have been unable to select, a chance too and this partnership with UNDP will help us begin to scale our impact.
In his remark, Lamin stated: “Investing in Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs does not just address inequality, but also stimulates innovative thinking and helps in developing local solutions to local development challenges on the continent. It will spur innovation and structural transformation in Africa and bring about shared prosperity across the continent.”
He added that the partnership with TEF will enhance networking among entrepreneurs through UNDP’s Youth Connekt initiative.
With a special focus on young and women entrepreneurs, TEF and UNDP will also undertake initiatives that will enable start-ups and small businesses to access affordable credit and other financial services they require to grow and diversify their businesses. In addition, UNDP and TEF will work together and contribute to efforts aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for private sector development, especially emerging entrepreneurs.
Under the MoU, both parties agree, among others, to promote entrepreneurship development in Africa with focus on Startups and existing SMEs; provide entrepreneurship skills training to start-ups and emerging African entrepreneurs with greater focus on youths and women; and deliver Business Development Services (BDS) necessary for start-ups and existing SMEs across Africa for growth and diversification. They also agree to promote innovation, technology development, networks and market linkages among African Entrepreneurs; undertake initiatives that promote access to affordable credit, guarantees and other financial services suitable for start-ups and small businesses in Africa; and foster partnerships with State and non-State actors to improve policy and business environment for local enterprises development in Africa.
In addition, they will jointly develop structures for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the impact on African entrepreneurs; and engage private sector leaders, corporations and businesses to support the development of African entrepreneurs.