Five thousand African entrepreneurs, private and public sector leaders and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem convened in Lagos on October 25, 2018 for the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum.
The event, which is the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, is a unique opportunity for bringing together young business talent, creating dynamic networks and transmitting the message to policymakers that a vibrant and responsible private sector will deliver economic transformation. Now in its fourth year, the Forum marked the graduation of the 2018 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, following a rigorous nine-month period of training, mentorship and funding, which brought the total number of beneficiaries of the Programme to 4,470, with over 300,000 applications received to date.
One of the highlights was the unveiling of TEFConnect, a revolutionary digital community that brings together the complete entrepreneurship ecosystem across Africa and beyond, including entrepreneurs, investors and the broader business community on one platform, connecting them digitally with three vital elements for success – capital, market and business tools. Commencing with a series of goodwill messages from key stakeholders in the investment, governmental and development communities, the event featured a pitching competition, panel discussions, as well as a vibrant interactive session between President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and the entrepreneurs, moderated by TEF Founder, Elumelu.
Parminder Vir, CEO, TEF, also unveiled the TEF Impact Documentary, featuring success stories of the Tony Elumeluu Entrepreneurs. Elumelu reiterated his commitment to championing Africa’s economic development by supporting and training a new generation of entrepreneurs, whose successes can transform the continent, delivering opportunity, job creation and social impact. He stated: “Our Foundation and its unique approach of training, mentoring and funding has proven that entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking economic transformation of our continent.
I believe so strongly that success can be democratized and if we can match ambition to opportunities, this extraordinary generation can achieve anything. “With TEFConnect, we have created a tool that provides a digital platform to host ideas, champion success and demonstrate Africans ability to use the most advanced technologies to take charge of their economic destinies.”
President Akudo-Addo underlined the importance of galvanizing the broad entrepreneurship eco-system, calling on public sector representatives to encourage, support and replicate the work of TEF in their respective regions