Highlights of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Forum
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropic organisation dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, concluded its third annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum on October 14 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria. The forum hosted more than 1 000 participants from 54 African countries, making it the most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent.
“This is the first year we have opened the forum up to include not just the 1 000 Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs from the 2017 cycle of our programme, but the full pan-African entrepreneurship ecosystem. In doing so, we are allowing disparate SMME communities to come together and expand the possibilities for intra-African partnerships. I urge policymakers and investors to join us at the forum, as we empower the next generation of African business titans,” said Parminder Vir, TEF chief executive, in an earlier statement put out by the foundation.
Female participation at the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has grown to 36% from the initial 24% in two years according to Vir. The two-day event, which involved plenary panels and master classes, allowed African entrepreneurs to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers and investors. Speakers discussed topics that educated, empowered and inspired the entrepreneurs, addressing the key stages necessary to successfully launch a business.
“In just three years, our 3 000 entrepreneurs have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated considerable wealth. On October 13 and 14, we invite the global entrepreneurship community to Lagos toward the realisation of a New Africa, a thriving, self-reliant continent capable of replicating the results we have seen in our ground-breaking programme,” said TEF founder Tony Elumelu.
Addressing the third cohort of TEF entrepreneurs, Nigerian vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “This generation of young people will do the exceptional. You are the reason Africa will work. The length and breadth of talent has shown that there is indeed hope.“Partnerships between the foundation and the United Nations Development Programme, the French bilateral development bank, Agence Française de Développement and the TEF were announced during the event.TEF partners Microsoft, Sage One and Greentec held training workshops focused on ways to strategically scale up a business. The United Bank for Africa has also proudly supported the forum.