The Tony Elumelu Foundation has announced the launch of a $100m Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative – The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme – a multi-year programme of training, funding, and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
The programme is the first initiative of its kind to be launched by an African philanthropic organisation and is the largest African sourced philanthropic gift, targeting the entrepreneurial space.
According to Tony O. Elumelu, CON, Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, “The opportunity and challenge in Africa is scale – in our people, our resources and our horizons. In my business and philanthropic journeys, I have always sought ways to help inspire a generation across our continent. This programme brings together my own entrepreneurial experience and my fundamental belief that entrepreneurs – women and men across Africa – will lead Africa’s development and transform our futures.
“The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme will offer a structured, multi-year opportunity to access funding, knowledge and perhaps most importantly mentoring, on s scale that is unprecedented in Africa – it is our opportunity to empower a generation,” said, Mr. Elumelu.
The programme will identify and help grow an initial 10,000 start-ups and young businesses from across Africa over the next 10 years, targeting the creation of 1,000,000 new jobs and $10 billion in annual revenues.
“Whether you’re in Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, Nairobi or Dakar, Africa is buzzing with entrepreneurs who need a platform that enables them to take their business or idea to the next level. The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has been designed to provide that mechanism,” said Parminder Vir, Director of Entrepreneurship at The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is inspired by three guiding principles: the inclusive economic philosophy of Africapitalism, based on the belief that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential; commitment to drive African economic growth through the empowering of African entrepreneurship; and a mission to ‘institutionalise luck’ by creating an environment where African entrepreneurs can get critical elements of support in the early stages of their business life.
A Selection Committee of African business leaders will select the most promising 1,000 start-ups annually from across the continent. Members of the Selection Committee include: Ory Okolloh, Director of Investments at the Omidyar Network’s
Government Transparency Initiative in Africa; Dr Ayodeji Adewunmi, CEO and Co-Founder of Nigerian job search site Jobberman; Dr Vera Songwe, Country Director at the World Bank Group for Senegal, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania; Opunimi Akinkugbe, CEO of pan-African board game company Bestman Games Ltd; Dr Ndubuisi Ekekwe, founder of technology company First Atlantic Semi-Conductors & Microelectronics; Sam Nwanze, Chief Investment Officer at Heirs Holdings; Monica Musonda, CEO of Java Food in Zambia and Dr Wiebe Boer, CEO of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
“World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has an agenda focused on innovation and entrepreneurship as a key prerequisite to achieving global competitiveness and building long-term wealth, especially for the youth. We must strive for entrepreneurial innovation in Africa and my participation in this programme further promotes the World Bank Group’s push for entrepreneur-led global development,” said Dr Vera Songwe, Country Director for the World Bank Group.
Successful applicants will participate in a comprehensive programme designed to equip them with the skills needed to build a successful business. The programme includes seed funding, a customized 12-week business skills training course, mentoring, an entrepreneurship ‘boot camp’, participation in the annual Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum, membership of the Alumni Network and much more.
“Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone to African development and the key to local value creation in Africa. I am determined to ensure that Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs have the platform they need to turn their entrepreneurial aspirations into sustainable businesses that will drive economic growth and job creation across Africa,” stated Tony O. Elumelu, CON.