Tony Elumelu, the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), revealed that the foundation has empowered more than 18,000 young African entrepreneurs since its inception. Through a commitment of $100 million, these entrepreneurs receive $5,000 in seed capital, six weeks of training, and mentoring, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs.
During an interactive session with EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, Elumelu emphasized the foundation’s role in creating wealth through strategic entrepreneurship empowerment, especially in the face of economic challenges in the country.
Elumelu’s vision is to not only provide financial support but also to instill practical business skills and mentorship, leading to tangible impacts. The foundation’s impact report proudly showcases the creation of over 400,000 jobs, a testament to their commitment to youth entrepreneurship.
Charles Odii, Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), outlined plans to conduct feasibility studies to understand the nature of businesses among Nigerian MSMEs and identify the necessary funding for their growth. He emphasized the importance of structured and well-regulated businesses in attracting investments.
Looking ahead, collaborations with the European Union and other international organizations are set to drive the growth of Nigeria’s vast community of over 40 million businesses. EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen emphasized a shift towards mutually beneficial partnerships, allocating substantial funding support for Africa’s energy, digital, and transport infrastructure. She highlighted Nigeria’s abundant opportunities for deepening ties with the EU, particularly in the realm of digital marketing, expressing the EU’s willingness to provide support.