Tony Elumelu, the Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), says the foundation has committed $100m to impact 18,000 young African entrepreneurs.
Elumelu spoke in Abuja on Thursday during an interactive session with the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Juta Urpilainen who was visiting Nigeria for the first time.
The chairman of Heirs Holdings noted that as the country is battling economic challenges, the foundation has over the years ensured they create wealth through careful entrepreneurship empowerment.
“The Tony Elumelu Foundation has committed 100 million dollars to impact 18,000 young African entrepreneurs by giving them a seed capital of $5,000 and training them for six weeks as well as providing mentors to coach them. They in turn have gone to create thousands of jobs, which is the impact we want to see.
“The partnership with the EU is to deepen our collaboration. Beyond the TEF, I try to attract investments into Africa and Nigeria, the visiting delegation is even more focused on business than entrepreneurship and we believe that the ultimate to peace and security is empowerment. It is not about handouts but practical economic empowerment.
“The impact report of the foundation shows that it has created over 400,000 jobs and we will continue to invest more in youth entrepreneurship,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Charles Odii said the agency as part of its primary mandate will in the coming days conduct feasibility studies to ascertain the nature of businesses the Nigerian MSMEs do and the funding required to make them flourish.
“We have to know exactly the businesses, their plans, and the kind of funding they want. We have to take into cognizance what they need and take data on informed decisions. Then, we improve on government regulations, financing and structure because businesses cannot attract investments if they are not properly structured,” he said.
He added that the collaborations with the European Union and other international organisations will be advanced in the coming days to drive the growth of Nigeria’s over 40 million businesses.
Earlier in her remarks, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen said she has drawn out the objective of changing the paradigm of donor-to-recipient relationships by creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
She said the EU “Has budgeted about £150 million by 2027 as funding support for Africa with focus on energy, digital and transport infrastructure,” adding that “Nigeria has a lot of opportunities to deepen and strengthen partnerships with the EU in digital marketing and we are willing to support.”