The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s foremost champion of entrepreneurship, will host its 5th Annual Forum — the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs – on July 26 – 27, 2019. The two-day event will take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Forum is the culmination of the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, which this year mentored, trained and seeded over 3,000 young Africans, selected from over 216,000 applicants. The event provides a unique opportunity for young women and men, from all 54 African countries, to meet, learn and network with the broader African and global entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is also a critical opportunity for political leaders and policy makers to meet, face to face, a new generation of African business leaders, who are transforming Africa’s economic trajectory.
Keynote speakers at the highly anticipated Forum include His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and His Excellency Macky Sall, President of Senegal, who will join Tony O. Elumelu, CON, TEF Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in an intimate open house discussion. The Presidential Convening is a highlight of the Forum, allowing the African entrepreneurs in attendance to closely engage with political leaders, to give first hand testimony of the important role government can play in catalysing growth and encouraging business ambition.
The Forum agenda includes masterclasses and panel discussions with leading speakers and sector experts, from Africa and globally, who will engage attendees in specialised training sessions to share insights, deepen their knowledge and refine their skills. The Forum will also feature a pitching event, where select entrepreneurs will deliver exciting presentations on the goods and services they provide to a distinguished judging panel.
The forum will bring together leading policymakers, business leaders, development agencies and the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem including alumni of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme.
Last year, a significant highlight was the launch of TEFConnect, the digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs, which provides a unique digital hub for the African entrepreneurship, facilitating networking, mentorship and most importantly business beyond borders.
Previous Forums have been headlined by African leaders, including President of Ghana, HE Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, Former President of Nigeria, HE Olusegun Obasanjo, Former Prime Minister of Benin and TEF Advisory Board Member, HE Lionel Zinsou, Vice President of Nigeria, HE Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s determination to bring change in scale, across Africa and its relentless focus on entrepreneurship is rooted in the inclusive philosophy of Afri-capitalism, created by its Founder, which recognizes economically empowering Africa’s youth — the continent’s future wealth creators — and thereby creating sustainable economic and social wealth, as one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. In 2015, the Foundation committed $100 million to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent, over 10 years. Now in the 5th year, the Foundation has funded, mentored and provided business management training to over 7,500 start-ups and small businesses, from all 54 countries in Africa.
“The TEF Entrepreneurship Forum will not just convene the most important stakeholders in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, it provides an opportunity for everyone to make a commitment to advance entrepreneurship and scale the impact of our entrepreneurs if we are to accelerate the development of the continent,” TEF CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said.
She added: “We are constantly inspired by the stories we receive from our entrepreneurs who are creating jobs, employing people and impacting their local communities and ultimately, the continent. We believe that these entrepreneurs are our future. Invest in them now and reap the Africa of our dreams tomorrow. This is what we are committed to.”