Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

TEF in Brussels, seeks EC urgent support for African entrepreneurs

Leading continental NGO driving Africapitalism and supporting youths in innovative entrepreneurial endevours, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), has taken its drive for support to the European Commission (EC), leading development finance institutions and think tanks at a case study session in the EU capital, Brussels, Belgium.
Led by its new Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, the meetings coincided with the same time when Europe’s relationship with Africa is high on foreign policy and developmental agenda as the European Union begins to deliver on its 2017 External Investment Plan.
The EU plan is designed to attracting investment and job creation in Africa even as the TEF consultation demonstrated that Africa also had solutions to bring to the table and platformed the Foundation’s unique approach to catalysing entrepreneurship in scale across the continent.
Coming with the theme; ‘A Convening on Africa’s Economic Transformation: A Case Study of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’, the event presented the results of the first five years of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme a unique programme, which has trained, mentored and seeded 4,470 African entrepreneurs with 3,050 newly announced to receive seed funding, and drawn over 200,000 applications to its 2019 cycle.
Tony Elumelu’s $100m investment in entrepreneurial philanthropy was held up as an example of how vital capital could be targeted efficiently and effectively, at African businesses best able to create significant economic and developmental impact.
In his remarks, Deputy Director General, DEVCO, EU, Mr. Koen Doens, said “Africa needs to create jobs by the millions to match the needs of its exponentially growing population. It will achieve this only if it unleashes a generation of empowered entrepreneurs. The Tony Elumelu Foundation contributes to this massively. The European Union wants to play its part and contribute to this endeavour.”
However, during an in-depth question and answer session with EU-Africa relations expert, Annie Mutamba, Founder, Mr. Tony Elumelu, highlighted the growing interest in TEF and its unique approach, while welcoming a new type of intervention in Africa.
He averred that “We very much believe in collaboration, mutual respect and a shared commitment to transform Africa. Africa is ready but we need to do this through the right sustainable manner that enables our people to become self-reliant, and independent, instead of perpetuating dependency. We need to implement practical solutions on ground through entrepreneurship, which empower people economically and addresses issues of extremism, migration, and insecurity.”
Responding, Minister for Digital Agenda, Telecommunications and Post, Belgium, Phillippe De Backer, stressed that “There is an increasing desire in Europe to engage Africa, including its grassroots in a structure and targeted approach with the right processes. The Tony Elumelu Foundation offers this platform.”
Business Hilights recalls that TEF, which had in March announced 3,050 selected entrepreneurs for its 2019 cycle, continues to grow in scale, ambition and impact, and now actively leverages technology to support entrepreneurs through TEF Connect – a digital hub designed to link entrepreneurs across Africa, and which already has 500,000 users.
On the Foundation’s future plans, Elumelu revealed that “We want to make sure that we impact more, reach more, touch more lives and get more women involved. We want to see more Northern Africa participation. We would like to reach 10,000 a year, with support from partners to empower additional entrepreneurs. We want to eradicate poverty and create wealth in a sustainable way.
“Ultimately, we want a larger and broader entrepreneurship ecosystem, that supports young Africans, and we want to deepen our engagement with government to create the enabling environment to support these Africans to succeed – the right investment climate, training, education, access to capital and most importantly creating the right investment culture.”
Dignitaries at the event included Carl Michiels, Director, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM); Bruno Wenn, Former CEO/Chairman at DEG-German Investment and Development Company, and Advisory Board Member, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Mr Viwanou Gnanssougou, Assistant Secretary General, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) at the European Council of the European Union, and Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.