The CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, was live on a virtual panel on Monday, February 1, alongside leaders from New York City, London, India, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda where she shared her insights on what “levelling the playing field” means and what the Tony Elumelu Foundation is doing to build diverse entrepreneurial cities and nations.
During the session, Ifeyinwa stressed the need for development organisations to trust and fund African entrepreneurs, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Here are a few salient quotes from the event which was organised by Founders’ Tribe, a digital community providing founders with access to other founders and early-stage investors relevant to their sector and stage.
- “When we think of the fact that most, if not all developed economies including China, were built on the back of entrepreneurs, Africa cannot and should not be different.”
- “All over the world, small and medium entreprises create 70 to 90% of the jobs present in the countries.”
- “We need to understand that prioritising small and medium entreprises in Africa and catalysing economic development through entrepreneurship is the only way to get the continent to where we need it to be. And that is why our founder, Mr Tony Elumelu, continues to prioritse entrepreneurship as far as all the activities of the Foundation are concerned.”
- “We launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme because we believe in the principle of Africapitalism, coined by Mr Tony Elumelu, which states that only the private sector, of course working hand in hand with development partners and foreign governments, will develop Africa, alleviate poverty and get the continent to harness its vast human as well as natural resources.”
- “At the Foundation, we have leveraged all the elements mentioned by my fellow panelists today, from training, capacity building to mentoring, and of course funding, because we firmly believe that in particular, training and funding are two sides of the same coin.”
- “Having worked with partners like the ICRC, Africa Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme as well as the European Union, we will continue to scale the impact that the Tony Elumelu Foundation has made so far. By believing in entrepreneurs and putting funding in their hands.”
- “When people are engaged in job creation, they do not have the time to pick up a knife to stab each other. Poverty is inextricably linked to insecurity, and by fighting the root cause of poverty which is unemployment and restiveness, we will address prevalent security challenges.”
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. We are inviting all young African men and women with business ideas or start-ups to apply on tefconnect.com