BusinessAfricapitalism: Tony Elumelu Foundation Splashes Young African Entrepreneurs With $5.52m

Africapitalism: Tony Elumelu Foundation Splashes Young African Entrepreneurs With $5.52m


March 24, (THEWILL)- At a time most African countries are sinking deep into the miry clay of poverty, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading philanthropy empowering the continent’s entrepreneurs, on Friday, March 22, 2024 unveiled 1,104 beneficiaries of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme for the year.

Each of the 1.104 beneficiaries, will receive a non-refundable $5,000 seed fund to execute their chosen projects endorsed by the Foundation. The amount translates to a total of $5,520,000 to be received by the beneficiaries who cut across the 54 countries of Africa.

Stakeholders agree that the TEF’s focus on fighting poverty in the continent stands out as one with little or no rival. This is because of its Afrocentric dimension, and drive by the stakeholders to allow no slag in the implementation of the scheme. This has helped the scheme in maintaining its success tempo to the admiration of those that come in touch with it.


At the head office of Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) where the colourful event took place, participants, guests and the media from across the continent witnessed the hope-building atmosphere that dominated the event streamed live for about one hour.

The founder of TEF, Tony Elumelu, who is also chairman of UBA, said in his keynote address that he is proud of what the foundation has accomplished in 10 years since its inception.

“These 1,104 young men and women from 54 African countries will each receive a non-refundable $5,000 seed capital,” he said.

The importance of the scheme resonated in the voice of Elumelu: “We believe in democratising luck, we believe in spreading prosperity and we think that the easiest way to spread prosperity in Africa is by identifying our young ones, encouraging them and helping them to start their own businesses. This is why we have done this.”

“Till date, over 20,000 young men and women from across Africa have received over $100 million in support of their programme. We are happy to see our young ones progressing. We are happy that what we started alone as Tony Elumelu Foundation will have been able to identify and partner with other global institutions.

“So, today is a day of impact, a day of gratitude, and most importantly, a day of reflection for me because God has been kind in so many ways. My family and I do what we do, not from the abundance of wealth, but just a realisation that poverty anywhere is a threat to us everywhere, and that we cannot live alone in prosperity.

“I’m happy that today, we continue to spread that prosperity- not just in Nigeria, not just in our family, but in all 54 African countries. I am indeed happy that in our lifetime, we are able to impact the next generation.”

Elumelu, whose birthday coincided with the event, said, “For my family and I, we thought there is no better way of celebrating my birthday than announcing the selection of the 2024 Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship Programme beneficiaries.”

This year’s edition reinforced the philosophy of Africapitalism which is at the heart of the TEF. According to the Foundation, Africapitalism is the economic philosophy developed by Tony Elumelu, the Founder, and it is predicated on the belief that Africa’s private sector can and must play a leading role in the continent’s development.

“Africapitalism means we cannot leave the business of development up to our governments, donor countries, and philanthropic organizations alone. The private sector must be involved in the business of development.”

Testimonies shared at the event confirm that the scheme is a success and making the desired impact. Speaking about the previous beneficiaries of the foundation programme, Elumelu said that TEF tracks how the beneficiaries are succeeding and how they are impacting humanity, society, and their communities. He disclosed that they have generated over $1.2 billion in revenue in their businesses.

“All have not succeeded, but we did tell ourselves from the onset- it is not about 100 per cent success, but even if 40, 50 per cent of our beneficiaries succeed, let’s through them help to eradicate poverty, but more importantly, show others, because we are trying to crowd in others into this space of entrepreneurship, we’re trying to encourage other successful Africans and global institutions and citizens that in the 21st century, there is a better way to develop Africa than just aid.”

The Co-Founder of TEF, De Awele Elumelu, also giving an address at the event, congratulated the members of the 10th Cohort.

She said, “To today’s 10th cohorts, I want to say as you embark on the next phase of your journey, know that you’re a part of a network of entrepreneurs, a big network of entrepreneurs and I want to say that you have all our support here- all of us here, we’re here to support you, to cheer you, to celebrate you, to pray for you, as the chairman has very nicely said. But to those who were not selected, let me also assure you that your journey is far from over.”

A positive note about the TEF programme is that the beneficiaries are of the modern generation and would not hesitate in driving with the vision of the scheme. They are in a position to reverse Africa’s narrative of being the cesspool of poverty, war and backwardness.

From the success story of the past beneficiaries, the prospect of Africa seeing a turnaround from its negative perspectives through the drive, focus and determination of the lucky beneficiaries can be seen. A note of assurance resides in Elumelu’s confirmation that the Foundation plans a global spotlight.

“We aspire to magnify our scale and impact, we want to do more. And we are thinking of forming a coalition of African entrepreneurs that will touch more lives. We are thinking of launching a coalition, a global coalition, to prioritize young Africans.”

About the Author

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Sam Diala is a Bloomberg Certified Financial Journalist with over a decade of experience in reporting Business and Economy. He is Business Editor at THEWILL Newspaper, and believes that work, not wishes, creates wealth.

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