Tony Elumelu Foundation, African Youths, Entrepreneurs

  • 0

Research has shown that by 2050, Africa’s population will reach 2.5 billion with over half of that under the age of 25. As much as this is expected to open up Africa to many opportunities, it is also expected to come with some economic challenges such as job creation wherein skills development and entrepreneurship will become major necessities.

Currently, there are some organisations bridging the gap in the area of championing entrepreneurship on the continent.

One such is the Tony Elumelu Foundation whose activities, focus on African youth and entrepreneurial development; that will be the focus of this article.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African non-profit organisation with the main objectives of empowering people on the continent, driving poverty eradication, and ensuring job creation.

Founded by Nigerian Businessman, Tony Elumelu in 2010, the Foundation has empowered many entrepreneurs across countries of the continent building the next generation of leaders in innovative businesses for the overall benefit of Africa.

Since its inception 13 years ago, TEF has disbursed over $100 million in seed capital to over 18,000 beneficiaries across 54 African countries.

Most importantly, the Foundation provides funding, training, and mentoring to young and aspiring entrepreneurs to make them contribute positively to their communities and the economy at large.

The Foundation has also trained 1.5 million entrepreneurs who have in turn created over 400,000 jobs which according to the Foundation has generated about $2.3 billion in revenue on the continent since 2015.

Through its direct activities and investments, as well as the support given to entrepreneurs across sectors in Africa, the Foundation targets, directly and indirectly, contributing to the 17 UN SDGs

Some Activities of the Tony Elumelu Foundation

The Tony Elumelu Foundation runs one of the most prestigious entrepreneurship grant programs in Africa. Every year, the foundation gives grants of between $5000 to $10,000 to young entrepreneurs across the continent.

One of the flagship programs of the Foundation through which this is achieved is its annual Entrepreneurship Program launched in 2015 which seeks to create over one million jobs and generate at least $10 billion in new business revenue through funding and mentoring of 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years.

By providing access to funding, mentorship, and training, the Foundation has helped grow the entrepreneurship spirit among African youths.

Another strategic program by the foundation is the Business Management Training Programme which equips young entrepreneurs with the technical and soft skills needed to run a successful business.

Through this, it further provides adequate mentoring for entrepreneurs to run successful businesses.

By so doing, some of the challenges faced by African youths in their entrepreneurial journeys such as limited access to funding and limited access to business development services are overcome easily.

In the words of the founder, Tony Elumelu, ” investing in Africa’s youths is an investment in our collective future.”

And this, it has done so well over the past years of its existence by helping African youths overcome some of the challenges confronting them and identifying purposes.

The Foundation recognizes the potential of youth entrepreneurship to drive economic growth and is investing in the future of the continent.

Through its platforms, many entrepreneurs have been born and many other young entrepreneurs can connect with customers, suppliers, and other entrepreneurs as well as access new markets and opportunities.

African Youth Entrepreneurial spirit

Globally, entrepreneurs remain the key drivers of economic and social wealth.

African youths are not lagging in this regard as they continue to show more interest in entrepreneurship such that rather than pursue conventional employment opportunities, the youths now desire to create something for themselves by starting their businesses and gaining financial independence.

In this aspect, the TEF has been helpful as monitoring results show that entrepreneur graduates from the Foundation create jobs in their communities and continue breaking the chain of unemployment wherever they find themselves on the continent.

With their increasing numbers, youthful entrepreneurs are driving innovations and showing their intensities in various fields and sectors of life.

Several factors have contributed to the rise of youth entrepreneurship in Africa. At the forefront of this is a technological advancement which has made it easier to do business at a lower cost and eliminate certain barriers.

Another contributing factor is the increasing availability of funding and support.

Everywhere in the world, startup funding for small businesses is usually a challenge but with the TEF on board, there is a ray of hope for some small businesses to get access to funding.

The TEF also provides young entrepreneurs with connections and support that help to grow their businesses.

Impact of the TEF

The Chief Executive Officer of Soclean, a laundry service in Benin Republic, Sadiq Gbadamosi said “I started that adventure in 2019 with a capital of CFA50,000 borrowed by my mother. At that time, I just used to wash with my hands, I had no machine and no staff.

But in 2019, I first applied for the TEF programme, I was not selected. In 2020, I applied again, but due to COVID, it was postponed. In 2021, I still tried my chance and that year, I was selected. That year, I was selected with my brother. …., thanks to the financing, I was able to acquire more materials, get a more suitable space and recruit more people.

“And thanks to the training we take through the journey, we can define our strategies, I’m happy to tell you that our sales have tripled.

Also, Monica Domingo from Zambia, a beneficiary of the 2019 Tony Elumelu Foundation seed capital had this to say.

“My business is currently employing 21 young men and women who are taking care of families. These are breadwinners.

“Through the Elumelu foundation, our business gained investor confidence. We’ve signed new contracts, and for that, we like to say thank you. May the sun keep shining on you.”

Beyond rhetoric and mere policy statements, the above testimonials culled from the YouTube stories at the symposium organised to mark the 60th birthday of the Founder of the TEF, Mr Tony Elumelu give an insight into some of the impacts the foundation has made over the years.

Not limited by tribe, race, or colour, the TEF has impacted African youths from across all countries of Africa on entrepreneurship and it is not relenting.

No doubt, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is doing all it can across the board to ensure a private-sector-driven African economy by grooming new entrepreneurs, its efforts are acknowledged but it can not do it alone as Africa is big.

To this end, a clarion call is going out to other relevant stakeholders, individuals, organisations and even governments on the continent to invest more in African youth entrepreneurship schemes to build a continent where the chains of poverty are completely broken and the spirit of entrepreneurship thrives.








































Sustaining Educational Property In East Africa
Prev Post Sustaining Educational Property In East Africa
Top 10 Business Women in South Africa
Next Post Top 10 Business Women in South Africa