Highlights: The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum
As the fourth edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum comes to an end, we reflect on the engaging and exciting activities that again positioned this forum as the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs.
This year’s forum treated African entrepreneurs, guests and other important dignitaries, to an experience of a lifetime.
These are the major events that made the event one to remember:
Chidimma Ugbojiaku, the Health & Safety (HSE) officer of TenOil Energy gave a health and safety talk to the entrepreneurs and all who were in attendance to start off the day.
The CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Parminder Vir, welcomed the entrepreneurs. In her address, she celebrated the journey of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship programme so far, highlighting some of the major achievements recorded. These achievements cut across job creation, revenue generation and sustainability goals.
Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, Director of Partnerships at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, introduced the partners—International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)—of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. She spoke about the reasons the Foundation opened the entrepreneurship programme to partners, emphasising the need to give back to the African continent.
The partners, ably represented by Eloi Fillion (Head of ICRC Nigeria), Samuel Bwalya (Country Director UNDP Nigeria) and Helge Michael Sato (Portfolio Manager GIZ) all spoke individually about what their respective partnerships with the Tony Elumelu Foundation mean for their organisations.
Bola Atta, the Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications at UBA Group, recognised the presence of public sector dignitaries at the event and spoke on the role of private and public sector collaborations in the eradication of poverty in Africa. After this, she introduced the Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State and Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State.
TEF Trustee and CEO of AVON Medical presented awards to alumni entrepreneurs and mentors who have distinguished themselves through their exceptional achievements in the African economic ecosystem.
Anchored by BBC Correspondent, Mayeni Jones, the entrepreneurs participated in an exciting pitching competition to reveal the candidate with the most investor ready business idea. They were allowed three minutes to deliver a pitch to an expert panel of judges which included Sam Nwanze, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Oluchi Orlandi and Alessia Balducci.
Following each pitch, each member of the panel gave the entrepreneurs expert advise drawing from their wealth of experience in business.
The GMD of the UBA Group, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, thanked the Tony Elumelu Foundation for its work in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. He also advised the entrepreneurs to keep working on their ideas and improving on them to stay unique, saying that it is impossible to stop people from trying to imitate their ideas.
Parminder Vir announced the winner of the competition: Mahassin Quadri, 2015 TEF Entrepreneur.
The next session witnessed TEF Trustee, Founder, Avon Medical, and GAVI champion for immunisation in Africa, Dr. Awele V. Elumelu join the CNNMoney Africa Correspondent Eleni Giokos for a Fireside Chat. They discussed the importance of private and public sector partnerships for the African economy, government support for the health sector especially through funding and the importance of investing in the African woman.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation CEO, Parminder Vir, premiered the Tony Elumelu Foundation Impact documentary to everyone in attendance which included our Founder, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya who joined the forum via a live online stream. The documentary showcased the work of our various entrepreneurs on-site at their various places of business, their victories, challenges, failures and insights in business.
President Uhuru Kenyatta delivered a goodwill message to Mr Tony O. Elumelu and the entrepreneurs at the forum. He commended the work of the foundation and the founder, Mr Elumelu, affirming his support to the growth of entrepreneurship in Africa. He further encouraged the entrepreneurs to seize opportunities and to remember that nothing is impossible. Finally, he implored policymakers and people in leadership to create policies that facilitate a healthy environment for young entrepreneurs to thrive.
Next was the highlight of the event.
President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, took on the Founder’s dialogue to discuss the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, the role of the government in the growth of the economy and the opportunities that exist in Africa. The President spoke about the programmes that are being organised in Ghana to support and empower the entrepreneurs in the country. Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of small and medium scale enterprises in the growth of the economy and the need to change the African narrative that portrays the continent as a place in need of help or aid.
Tony O. Elumelu commended the TEF entrepreneurs for their drive and their desire to develop the African economy. He also reiterated that the transformation of Africa cannot occur without the support of government and political leaders because these young Africans need the right operating environment to succeed. The dialogue ended with a question and answer session where the entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to ask them questions.
The President of Ghana and Mr Tony O. Elumelu were joined on stage by the CEO of the Foundation Parminder Vir, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Governor of Kebbi State, Dr Awele V. Elumelu, the TEF Partners, other dignitaries and the Business Information Specialist of the Foundation, Folarin Aiyegbusi to launch TEFConnect: the world’s largest platform for African entrepreneurs and the larger entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Mr Tony Elumelu and President Nana Akufo-Addo took a tour of the TEF marketplace where the TEF entrepreneurs showcased their products and services in grand style.
The Entrepreneurship Programme Manager, Uwem Uwemakpan, anchored the alumni party energising the crowd after a thrilling day. The high points of the party came when Nigerian celebrity dancer Kaffy and Nigerian singer Flavour serenaded the crowd with their performances.
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