By Providence Emmanuel
THE Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has created over 160,000 direct and indirect jobs across Africa in three years.
Also, the foundation which is dedicated to catalysing entrepreneurship, announced its third annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, scheduled to hold on October 13-14 in Lagos, as one of the most diverse annual gatherings of African entrepreneurs and SMEs.
In a statement, the Foundation said over 1,300 African entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers from 54 countries would be in attendance. Speakers expected at the occasion include: Wale Ayeni, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Afrexim Bank; Andre Hue, African Development Bank; Stephen M. Haykin, USAID Nigeria; Heikke Reugger, European Investment Bank; and Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, United Nations Development Programme.
The founder of TEF, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said: “Since launching the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme – and committing $100 million to empowering 10,000 African entrepreneurs in a decade – we have unleashed our continent’s most potent development force and its entrepreneurs. In just three years, our first 3,000 entrepreneurs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated considerable wealth. On October 13 and 14, the global entrepreneurship community will gather in Lagos to build a New Africa, a thriving, self-reliant continent capable of replicating the results of our ground-breaking Programme.”
Mrs. Owen Omogiafo, Chief Operating Officer, TEF, said: “On the average, each entrepreneur has created about 20 direct jobs and when that is multiplied by 2000, it is 40,000. Sixty indirect jobs by 2000 is about 120,000 and all put together is 160,000.”
Chief Executive Officer, TEF, Mrs. Parminder Vir, said: “This is the first year we have opened the Forum up to include the full pan-African entrepreneurship ecosystem. In doing so, we are enabling African SME communities to come together and expand the possibilities for intra-African partnerships.”
Also in her remark, Programme Manager, Mrs. Onajite Emerhor, noted that invitation to the forum is extended, for the first time, beyond the 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs from the 2017 cohort, to include selected SMEs, media, hubs, incubators, academia and investors from diverse nations across Africa. “Assembled SMEs will build networks, share knowledge, connect with investors and link with corporate supply chains,” she said.
The Foundation noted that its 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 its entrepreneurs, as the catalysts for the social and economic development of the continent.