By Lucy Ogalue
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has disbursed 15.25 million dollars to 3,050 selected candidates for the 2019 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs.
The Chairman of the foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, at the unveiling of the applicants on Friday in Abuja, said that 5,000 dollars would be disbursed to each candidate.
According to him, the amount will serve as seed fund to empower the entrepreneurs in their various businesses.
Elumelu said entrepreneurship was the way to go at impacting on humanity and growing the continent, hence it was important to invest in it.
“We should contribute our quota to humanity as we do in the foundation”
“We have decided to use this as opportunity to unveil the selection of 3,050 young entrepreneurs so that there will be more prosperity on our continent.
“We urge the President Muhammad Buhari’s led administration to improve access to electricity in the country for the benefit of the entrepreneurs,” he said.
Elumelu also revealed that the foundation had spent about 50 million dollars in the last five years to empower 4,470 African Entrepreneurs.
“We spend like 10 million dollars every year.”It’s a ten year commitment’
“Every year we spend five million dollars directly for seed capital. We spend money for forum, the training, mentoring and so many other things.
“So about 10 million dollars is spent every year in supporting this programme.
“We are spending a little more now because of the additional number; we have an additional 2,050 and we have to train them,” he said.
Elemelu said the foundation had set up a TF connect which is helping African entrepreneurs to connect and almost 700,000 of them were already on the platform.
He said: “we are helping them to find markets, investors, connections and to solve some of their problems.”
The chairman said that the eradication of poverty on the continent was the responsibility of all and urged well-meaning people to support the course for the benefit of all.
“What I see happening, if others were to come on board, we will be progressively reducing the level of poverty, increase female participation in economic activities on the continent and the number of jobs we create.”
Earlier, Ifeyinwa Ogochukwu, the Director of Partnership, who is also the incoming Chief Executive Officer of TEF commended the various partners of the foundation while urging more to come on board.
According to Ogochukwu, if we are going to thrive on the continent, it is only through entrepreneurship.
She said that the foundation was able to increase the number of candidates to 3,050 because of the support of its partners.
She said out of the 3,050 successful candidates, 1,000 would be directly funded by the Foundation and an additional 2,050 supported by the its partners.
“African Development Bank will be sponsoring 1000 entrepreneurs and would be supporting the foundation with about five million dollars.
“United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is sponsoring 754 candidates with 1.4 million dollars and International Committee for the Red Cross is sponsoring 180 with 900,000 dollars commitment.
“Benin Republic is supporting 50 additional citizens of their country with 200,000 dollars,
Botswana, 20 candidates with 100,000 dollars and Anambra State Government is sponsoring 15 candidates,” she said.
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