CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, was a guest speaker at The Africa Debate 2021, UK’s leading investment summit with global businesses, private and public investment bodies, thought leaders and policy makers. The 3-day event was organized to address the core pillars of Africa’s recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
During her session on “Increased Capital Flows: How to leverage Global Finance for Africa”, Ifeyinwa presented how funding grassroots African Entrepreneurs who do not have access to institutional loans can improve their performance, which will directly impact the socio-economic conditions on the continent.
Here are 5 memorable quotes from her session:
On why African Entrepreneurs need funding:
In an environment like ours, loans are not easily accessible for small businesses and without funding, a business is only but an idea. Most of the PE opportunities are of larger sums and need businesses to not only demonstrate that they are scalable, but also that they can manage their financials.
On how human resources on the continent can drive economic output
The reason why a lot of attention is placed on Africa is because home grown resources are available. To attract more capital into markets, a model like ours that trains, funds, and monitors their business performance. With our bespoke training, we equip these entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and afford them the opportunity to prove their concept with a seed capital of $5,000.
On the role of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in making SMEs desirable to Private Equity:
The reality is that investment commitments and increased capital flow require substantive groundwork, and therefore, programmes like the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship programme go a long way in paving the way for these businesses. Through our programme, start-ups are equipped with elemental knowledge, training, skills, and resources that guide their journey to becoming investable.
On how to leverage global financing :
More grassroot funding opportunities is needed to leverage Global Finance for Africa. We need more systems, more support in de-risking small businesses so they can grow, scale their operations, and attract larger funding opportunities. Prioritizing SMEs means more grassroots financing, finding creative and innovative approach to funding, so that buckets of small businesses are not left out in receiving support to scale.
On the future of African Entrepreneurs through collaborative financing:
This year, with the support of partners from developmental organizations and private entities, the Tony Elumelu Foundation will fund over 4500 entrepreneurs – after having trained 200,000 – as part of the 2021 cohort. This means that about 4500 entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to integrate across different sectors. This means that about 4500 entrepreneurs stand the chance to attract larger funding opportunities that will in themselves, create the kind of prosperity that will support socio-economic transformation in the continent and beyond.