Founders Remarks at 2018 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum

31st October 2018

Tony Elumelu

 

• Distinguished Presidents, Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs, African entrepreneurs, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen

 

• Welcome to a movement that seeks to change a continent – entrepreneurship – young entrepreneurs – African entrepreneurs.

 

• In 2010, we founded the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

 

• We set out our philosophy – Africapitalism – the idea that the African private sector – through long-term – responsible investment – could change the face of our continent.  Creating social wealth and shared prosperity.

 

• We know entrepreneurship is the way to create jobs, eliminate poverty, grow wealth – combat extremism – on a scale that Africa needs – to achieve the ambitions we all have – not least those before you – and to scale the challenges that we know are all too real.

 

• We know this is Africa’s opportunity – and a challenge only Africans can accept.

–        We know Africa can feed itself and indeed feed the world.

–        We know African youths are yearning for opportunities and support

• To realise their aspirations and goals – just look at this room – feel the spirit – resilience and hear the dreams

 

• These are hardworking, energetic women and men – they justify our trust

• Those of us who have achieved success know that we have had a helping hand – even at times luck – we need to create the platforms to instutionalise and democratise that luck.

• That’s why this Foundation is committing US$100m over 10 years – to create many Tony Elumelu’s – and others like me – Who are entrepreneurial models for us all.

 

• We should not be limited by national boundaries – that’s why we opened our initiative to all Africa – that’s why we have applicants from 54 countries – in four years we have funded, mentored and taught over 4,250 African women and men – in all now received over 300,000 applicants.

 

• In Ghana we have about 134 Tony Elumelu Foundation beneficiaries and 306 in Kenya.

• But the more we do, the more we need to do – We are empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs– and the good news is that with the support of the ICRC, the UN, GIZ we are beginning to realise we can reach many more – remember we now have over 300,000 applicants.

 

• But we know – that government has a vital role – the transformation of our continent and the economic empowerment of our youth cannot happen without the active engagement of our political leaders.

 

• The enabling environment necessary for our entrepreneurs’ success must be put in place.

 

• This is why it is so important and so warming to have your presence here today.

• I know you believe in entrepreneurship – and indeed are actively pursuing policies to unleash our next generation of business leaders. They want to succeed – to contribute – to in turn mentor, seed and teach.

 

• Nations that understand this succeed. Your presence here is a clear indication of your commitment.

 

• So, on behalf of the young women and men in this room – and the thousands watching and the millions across Africa, welcome to the 2018 TEF Forum

– welcome to Lagos

and

– welcome to Nigeria!