The World Economic Forum(WEF) is an elite gathering of global leaders in the public and private sectors, who hear cases for international collaboration as a means of solving global challenges. In recognition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s role as the pan-African organization encouraging inter-African collaboration through entrepreneurship, our Founder, Tony O. Elumelu led a delegation from the business and philanthropic arms of his empire to the event.
There, he presented the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme as Africa’s most innovative approach to tackling unemployment and driving sustainable development in a series of meetings and speaking engagements in the WEF program.
Speaking as an investor in Africa and one who is passionate about entrepreneurship, in each meeting he held and discussions he participated in, Mr. Elumelu demonstrated how our innovative approach to alleviating poverty by creating jobs is the new blueprint for sustainably developing our continent.
In a private session with World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, where they engaged on how to increase economic opportunities for young Africans. They ultimately agreed to work together to scale up the TEF Programme in collaboration with both the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to reach more budding African entrepreneurs. In a session with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine LaGarde, he stressed that start-ups and the entrepreneurs who run them are no longer just a buzz word in the global zeitgeist, but are drivers of development across the global economy.
In interviews with CNBC Africa and CNN, Mr. Elumelu passionately expounded on the overriding commitment his family has made through TEF, to eradicate poverty and drive employment – two of Africa’s biggest challenges which once unlocked, would fundamentally change the way it develops.
As a reflection of that commitment, Mr. Elumelu led WEF’s Family Business Community session on the topic, Generating a Sustainable Prosperity: Are Family Businesses Custodians of a Bigger Project’ The session highlighted the role of family businesses in creating social and economic prosperity for all.
The next day, Mr. Elumelu gave remark at a GAVI Alliance breakfast, where TEF Trustee, Dr. Awele V. Elumelu was named a GAVI ambassador – a private sector champion who will raise awareness for immunisation in Africa. During his remarks, Mr. Elumelu spoke on the need for better collaboration among African leaders to drive social change.
The Forum culminated for the TEF delegation when Mr. Elumelu spoke on a panel – his brainchild to ensure that start-ups and the business ecosystems they strengthen are recognized as a viable conduit for business development – the State of Start-ups. The session, borne out of a letter he wrote to Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab and streamed live from the Congress Center, highlighted the incredible progress startups have already made in creating employment.
During the session, Mr. Elumelu offered proffered advice for all entrepreneurs confronted by failure, saying, “The world celebrates only success, but it’s important to teach people resilience, about tenacity, that brings success. An entrepreneur’s path is not linear, it’s up and down, but at the end of the day when you plot it, you see upward movement. Failure is a given and there are specific tools: one, you should be very resilient, two, you must think long term, because if you think long term, short term failures wont set you back so much. And most importantly, by laser focused and know that success will come at the end of the day if you are laser-focused and tenacious.”
In meetings with the organisations like the International Trade Center, Indorama, Microsoft Philantropy, Devex, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Global Fund, the Red Cross and more, TEF CEO Parminder Vir OBE delivered a single message – our ground-breaking entrepreneurship development programme is the partner of choice international organizations seeking innovative, sustainable approaches to transforming Africa’s economy. In the past 3 years, we have championed entrepreneurship in all 54 African countries by providing 3000 start-ups with access to funding, mentorship, training and networking opportunities. We have invested direct seed capital of $15 million in 3000 African entrepreneurs in 30 sectors from 54 countries. We have built a model which works and we are proud of the impact our alumni are making all over the continent.
At TEF we are confident that our model works and if scaled by organizations, public and private, across the continent, Africa will experience an entrepreneurship revolution. We are currently accepting applications to identify 1,000 new entrepreneurs from across the continent with business ideas and start-ups that have the potential to grow and contribute to economic development on a local, national and continent-wide level. We encourage you to help us spur this entrepreneurship revolution by encouraging African entrepreneurs with potential to apply, or partnering with us to strengthen and scale our programme.
Visit www.tonyelumelufoundation.org to find out more.