By Cynthia Alo
The Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, has announced a partnership with the European Union, EU, to identify, train, mentor and fund 2,500 young African women entrepreneurs in 2021.
A statement by the foundation says the partnership will disburse 20 million in financial and technical support for women-owned businesses across all the 54 African countries while providing increased access to market linkages, supply chains and venture capital investments.
According to the statement, the engagement will strengthen and deepen the EU-Africa partnership, build on the platform and experience of the US$100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, and forms part of the EU External Investment Plan to support women economic empowerment within the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP III).
It noted that the partnership will also unlock the dynamic potential of African women entrepreneurs, directly catalysing African’s economic growth and contributing to Africa’s prosperity and social development.
Commenting on the partnership, Founder of TEF, Mr Tony Elumelu, said: “We are delighted to partner with the European Union, sharing our unique ability to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa. This joint effort will prioritise and provide economic opportunities for African women, whom for too long have endured systemic obstacles to starting, growing and sustaining their businesses. Our partnership will alleviate the funding, knowledge and market constraints threatening the livelihoods of women entrepreneurs on the continent, to create more income, jobs, growth and scale for women-owned businesses.”
‘The programme is co-funded by the European Union, the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific State (OACPS), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will further scale the Foundation’s efforts in directly addressing some of the most endemic challenges to African start-ups skills and capacity gaps, financial constraints and lack of access to mentoring, networks and market linkages.
Also commenting, Commissioner for International Partnerships at EU, Jutta Urpilainen, said, “This partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation will help women participants in economic development, realise their full potential and accelerate economic inclusion. Empowering women entrepreneurs is a key driver for sustainable jobs and growth, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the objectives of our African Strategy. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and they deserve equal opportunities.”