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Tony Elumelu Foundation Unveils 2024 Winners Of Annual Entrepreneurship Programme During 10th Edition

1,104 Africans have each won a $5,000 non-refundable entrepreneurship grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

In a testament to its unwavering dedication to empowering African entrepreneurs, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), on Friday, announced the selection of over 1,000 promising entrepreneurs from across 54 African countries as beneficiaries of its prestigious Entrepreneurship Programme.

The unveiling of the new cohort marked the 10th edition of the 10-year-long initiative.

Since its inception, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has been steadfast in its belief in the transformative potential of young Africans to drive positive change on the continent. Through its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme, the foundation has provided invaluable support to thousands of ambitious entrepreneurs, equipping them with essential skills, mentorship, funding, and access to a robust alumni network.

The founder of TEF, Tony Elumelu, while giving a keynote address at the unveiling event, said that he is proud of what the foundation has accomplished in the 10 years since its inception.

“These 1,104 young men and women from 54 African countries will each receive a non-refundable $5,000 seed capital,” he said.

The chairman of the UBA Group said, “We believe in spreading luck, we believe in democratizing luck, we believe in prosperity, and we think that the easiest way to spread prosperity in Africa is by identifying our young ones, encouraging them and helping them to start their own businesses. This is why we have done this.”

“Till date, over 20,000 young men and women from across Africa have received over $100 million in support of their program. We are happy to see our young ones progressing. We are happy that what we started alone as Tony Elumelu foundation will have been able to identify and partner with other global institutions.

“So, today is a day of impact, a day of gratitude, and most importantly, a day of reflection for me because God has been kind in so many ways. My family and I do what we do, not from the abundance of wealth, but just a realisation that poverty anywhere is a threat to us everywhere, and that we cannot live alone in prosperity. So, I’m happy that today, we continue to spread that prosperity- not just in Nigeria, not just in our family, but in all 54 African countries. I am indeed happy that in our lifetime, we are able to impact the next generation.”

Elumelu, who was also marking his birthday on Friday, said, “For my family and I, we thought there is no better way of celebrating my birthday than announcing the selection of the 2024 Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship Programme beneficiaries.”

Speaking about the previous beneficiaries of the foundation programme, he said, “We track how the beneficiaries are succeeding and how they are impacting humanity, society, and their communities. They have generated over $1.2 billion in revenue in their businesses.

“All have not succeeded, but we did tell ourselves from the onset- it is not about 100% success, but even if 40, 50% of our beneficiaries succeed, let’s through them help to eradicate poverty, but more importantly, show others, because we are trying to crowd in others into this space of entrepreneurship, we’re trying to encourage other successful Africans and global institutions and citizens that in the 21st century, there is a better way to develop Africa than just aid.”

Elumelu then announced that the foundation is aspiring to create a bigger coalition for African entrepreneurs, as the foundation’s programme could only accept a limited number of people. He said, “We aspire to magnify our scale and impact, we want to do more. And we are thinking of forming a coalition of African entrepreneurs that will touch more lives… We are thinking of launching a coalition, a global coalition, to prioritize young Africans.”

The Co Founder of TEF, De Awele Elumelu, also giving an address at the event, congratulated the members of the 10th Cohort.

She said, “To today’s 10th cohorts, I want to say as you embark on the next phase of your journey, know that you’re a part of a network of entrepreneurs, a big network of entrepreneurs, and I want to say that you have all our support here- all of us here, we’re here to support you, to cheer you, to celebrate you, to pray for you, as the chairman has very nicely said. But to those who were not selected, let me also assure you that your journey is far from over.”

She then urged the new cohorts to persevere and be patient, as success in life is not linear.

To date, the foundation has disbursed a remarkable $100 million directly to young African entrepreneurs, catalysing the creation of over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs and making substantial contributions to Africa’s economic development.

Additionally, the foundation’s digital entrepreneurship-support platform, Reconnect, has extended capacity building support, advisory services, and market linkages to over 1.5 million Africans.

The selection of the 2024 cohort not only celebrates the achievements of budding entrepreneurs but also marks a significant milestone in the foundation’s ongoing efforts to foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

With this latest initiative, the Tony Elumelu Foundation continues to pave the way for a new generation of African entrepreneurs poised to drive sustainable development and prosperity across the continent.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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