Abuja, Nigeria – October 18, 2023 – The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading philanthropy empowering a new generation of young African entrepreneurs, hosted a delegation of esteemed partners from the European Union, at the iconic Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, on the occasion of the visit of the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, and the EU delegation to Nigeria. This event marked a significant milestone in the ongoing partnership between the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union.
In 2021, The Tony Elumelu Foundation partnered with the European Union to identify, train, mentor and fund 2,500 young African women entrepreneurs. The partnership disbursed €20 million in financial and technical support for women-owned businesses, across all 54 African countries, in addition to providing increased access to market linkages, supply chains and venture capital investments.
The partnership not only significantly strengthened and deepened the EU-Africa relations, but it also built on the transformative approach of the US$100m Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, and formed part of the EU External Investment Plan to support women economic empowerment within the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP III).
During the event, Tony O. Elumelu C.F.R., Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, expressed their delight in reflecting on the resounding success achieved through the TEF-EU partnership, and the accomplishments of the young African women entrepreneurs who have thrived under their mentorship and support.
Mr. Elumelu and Commissioner Urpilainen expressed their enthusiasm about the future of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s collaboration with the European Union. Both leaders underscored their commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development in Africa, paving the way for a prosperous future for the continent.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu said, “I speak for every young African entrepreneur when I say thank you [to the European Union] and welcome to Africa. Together, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union have economically empowerment thousands of women entrepreneurs across the continent, supporting each of them with a non-refundable seed capital of $5,000, because they share our belief that prosperity anywhere is good for all of us, and poverty anywhere is a threat to all of us everywhere. This partnership has exemplified the transformative impact that can be achieved when like-minded organizations join forces to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. Together with the European Union, we have unlocked immense potential, enabling young women entrepreneurs to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s economic growth”.
Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen remarked, “It is great to have this opportunity to hear the impressive stories of We’ve heard the impressive results and stories of beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s inclusive support programmes, backed also by the European Union. When I was appointed as the EU Commission of International Partnerships 2019, I had an objective, I really wanted to change the paradigm. The paradigm of our partnership with Africa, I wanted to get rid of the existing donor-recipient relationship, where donors tell and impose their expectations on Africans. We look forward to changing the paradigm and creating mutually beneficial partnerships and equal partnerships. ”
As the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union continue their collaborative efforts, they remain dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs, driving innovation, and catalyzing positive change across the African continent. The partnership stands as a beacon of hope, inspiring future generations and demonstrating the immense possibilities that arise when organizations unite to uplift communities.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, driving poverty eradication, catalysing job creation across all 54 African countries, and increasing women economic empowerment. Since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub, TEFConnect, and disbursed nearly USD$100 million in direct funding to 18,000 African women and men, who have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. The Foundation’s mission is rooted in Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.
Read the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s recently launched impact report here.
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