Tony Elemelu Foundation Unveils 2019 Entrepreneurs

Tony Elumelu, Founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, speaking at the unveiling of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurs. Photos: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, on Friday, unveiled finalists of its 2019 entrepreneurs drawn from 54 African countries.

The event which took place in Abuja had in attendance the Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, wives of Governors of Kogi and Nasarawa State, the founder, Tony Elumelu among others.

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Over 3,000 applicants were been selected for the 2019 cohort of the Foundation’s flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.

According to the foundation, the applicants were selected from the 216,000 submitted applications representing 58% male, 42% female.

Some of the parameters used in selecting shortlisted applicants include feasibility, market opportunity, scalability, leadership skill and viability of the idea.

Founder of TEF, Tony Elumelu stressed the importance of private sector in the development of Africa’s economy.

He noted that the small and medium scale enterprises are the main drivers of the economic transformation.

“No one but us will develop our continent. The private sector has a key role to play in doing this. It is not the big businesses that make the difference, but the SMEs are known for creating jobs, alleviating poverty, helping to bridge inequality gaps and ensure that our women are more economically involved.”

“It is in this realisation that the TEF decided that entrepreneurship is the most catalytic way of making little contributions to humanity.”

He said that the selected finalists are 3,050 young African men and women from 54 African countries.

FG Will Continue To Create Right Environment For Technology, Innovation To Thrive – Osinbajo

We Must Create Opportunities For Young People – Osinbajo
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo (file photo)

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the Federal Government will continue to create the right environment for technology and innovation to thrive in the country.

He said this on Wednesday during his visit to Ventures Platform Hub, Abuja, alongside the British Secretary for Africa and International Development, Rt. Hon. Harriett Baldwin.

He also commended the entrepreneurial drive of the youths to create value in the technology sector, noting that the Federal Government is supporting technology and innovation because it is the “future starting today”.

“The fact is that a lot of these entrepreneurs actually started while we were in recession, and it is not just evidence of their resilience, hard work and creativity; but also, the fact that there is so much opportunity and so much talent here; and there is so much that can be done,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande.

Osinbajo added, “I think just looking at what has happened with some of the startups that we’ve seen today, many of them actually started in the recession, while the recession was on, and they proved, by just the number of jobs they have created, the value and wealth they’ve created, that this is really the future starting today.

“They’ve done so much work and innovation, so for us, it is a no-brainer (why the Federal Government is supporting technology hubs); because obviously what we need to do is to create the right environment for these technology companies and for innovation to thrive, which is why we have started up first with the creativity and technology advisory group”.

The Vice President also stated that a lot of young start ups are members of creativity and technology advisory groups where they help to formulate policies with federal government policy makers.

“They help also to formulate policy in many of these new areas, especially in Fintech, which are some of the new areas where we need to formulate new policies.

“I think that, again, underscores the fact that technology, especially the startups that we are seeing, is the future of business in Nigeria and will lead us to the Nigeria, which is an excellent place, to do a lot of very creative and innovative things. We’ve seen so much already, I think we are in a very good place to make the real difference in those things that we want to see,” he said.

The Vice President then thanked the UK government for its cooperation in boosting technology and innovation in the country through its partnership.

“I just want to say a very big “thank you” to the UK DFID for all the great support that we are getting and to say that, as they say, ‘the sky is no longer the limit,’ because technology seems to have gone way beyond the skies and we are very prepared as a government to support innovation in every way,” he said.

In the same vein, the British Secretary for Africa & International Development, Harriett Baldwin, said the UK was going to invest more in Nigeria’s technology sector because it “has seen a wide range of different ways in which the technology sector can really drive the economy forward, raise the income of people and also create jobs.”

Accompanying the Vice President to Ventures Park were the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

The Lord Mayor of London, Mr. Charles Bowman, was also at the event.

DBN Shortlists Nine Banks For Loan Disbursement To Entrepreneurs

 

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has shortlisted five commercial banks and four microfinance institutions for the disbursement of interventions to entrepreneurs.

The Managing Director, Mr Tony Okpanachi, told journalists in Abuja on Monday that the DBN would simplify its loan application processes to enable more entrepreneurs in the MSMEs have access to its intervention fund.

The commercial lenders include Wema bank, Ecobank, Sterling bank, Diamond bank and Fidelity bank, while Microcredit, Infinity, Busack And Fortis are identified as the four microfinance banks.

The DBN was established to confront financing difficulties of private sector investments in the country.

It targets provision of long-term funding to about 20,000 MSMEs in the first year of full operation.

Global Entrepreneurship Week: John Momoh Advises Youths To Be Purpose-Driven

John Momoh

Leveraging Nigeria’s massive youth population through enterprise development in innovation and technology took centre stage on Tuesday at the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The Lagos Business School Enterprise Development Centre assembled a crop of Nigerian entrepreneurs to discuss the global trend of youth entrepreneurship with emphasis on Nigerian youths.

At the event, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria and Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, who was the Keynote Speaker, called on youths to be purpose-driven.

He said, “The youths must have a right attitude. The attitude should be one of goal orientation. The youth should be purposeful and not be carried away the enticements of the moment. Any eye on the future helps the drive for more work, hunger which can be rewarding at most times.”

The Global Entrepreneurship Week is a decade old tradition across about 180 countries. This year the event focuses on a disruptive innovation for technology in national development, and the Lagos event attracted over 500 youth corps members.

Also at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Nehemiah Company Ltd, Mr Adeniyi Aromolaran, praised the National Youth Service Corps scheme for preparing the youth for life’s challenges.

“The NYSC is a national orientation programme, orientation for national mentality thinking. That is the first thing the NYSC should do. It should give us a nationalistic thinking,” he said.

On his part, the CEO of Wilsons Juice Company, Mr Seyi Abolaji, cautioned the youth against becoming entrepreneurs for the sake of it.
He said, “Not everybody should be an entrepreneur, not everybody should own their own business. Some people need levels of comfort, moving forward. I personally don’t need comfort right now.”

The Coordinator of FATE Foundation, Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, urged youths to think of positive ways of translating their vibrant ideas into sustainable and viable businesses.

As part of the event, some of the corps members participated in a pitching programme after which three of them emerged winners for best business ideas.
They walked away with cash prizes ranging from N200,000 to N500,000.

New Development Approach Will Eradicate Poverty – Tony Elumele

Economist and entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu says the time has come to implement a new development model that would help eradicate poverty in Africa.

He also noted that it is fundamental to help the youth see themselves as the change Africa is looking for and encourage them to lead the campaign against poverty in the continent.

This and other issues of development formed the crux of the two-day forum organised by the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Lagos south-west Nigeria.

“Our youths need jobs, plenty jobs, economic hope. There is so much uncertainty about the future.

“In Africa, we have tried different models to deal with these issues of poverty eradication, job creation and creating economic hope for our people – in fact, we know that we have not made much progress and in some areas we can even say that we have regressed,” Mr Elumelu stressed.

Also according to him, aid inflow into Africa in the past 10 years is a whopping half a trillion dollars, yet the basic human development index has not significantly changed.

He, therefore, stated that the new development model which he referred to as ‘Africapitalism’ is of utmost necessity.

“A development model that embraces shared prosperity and local value addition, long-term investment and also private sector development and ultimately entrepreneurship, is needed.

“Africapitalism is a development model that prioritizes our youth and creates hope for them. It is a bottom-up approach to development; an all-inclusive approach that brings development to everyone; one that creates economic empowerment and one that creates hope for the future.”

Also Speaking at the event, was Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Osinbajo who help similar views.

According to him, the present generation of young Africans represents hope for the continent.

“I’ve always known that this group of individuals, this generation of young people will do the exceptional. Earlier this month I spoke at the Financial Times Africa Summit on the theme what makes Africa work – here in this room are seated the answer to that question.

“Across Agriculture, ICT, hospitality, fashion, energy, manufacturing and many other fields, the breadth and depth of talent and innovation on display in the current and previous Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship cohorts have shown that there is indeed hope,” the Vice President said.

Oyo Govt. Flags Off Entrepreneurship Programme

Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State, Paris ClubThe Oyo State Government has reiterated its commitment to youth development through a sustained effort of providing entrepreneurial and skill acquisition programmes.

The State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr Abayomi Oke, disclosed this at the weekend during the kick-off of the Oyo-Ajumose Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship Youth Programme Training Scheme also known as ‘OYO-ABLE’.

The programme was organised by the State Government in conjunction with the Bank of Industry (BOI), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Africa Leadership Foundation (ALF).

Oke explained that the state has been at the forefront of youth development in the country, emphasising government’s readiness to help the youth in the state to build sustainable businesses which will contribute to Nigeria’s GDP and in turn, boost the state’ economy.

“The entrepreneurship programme is mainly for the youth who have established existing business in any vocation and have registered their businesses with CAC.

“The scheme is to initiate a process of acquiring business management, strategic marketing and financial management skills needed for the survival and growth of small businesses.

“I want to note that Oyo state is filling the gap between skills acquisition (vocational training) and entrepreneurship development (Business Management skills), by offering training support where necessary,” he noted.

Oke further explained that the Ministry of Youth and Sports has prepared a more practical and interactive platform for the trainees at the end of the programme, whereby the participants will have access to soft loans needed for expansion of their business.

The Commissioner pointed out that the Oyo State Government, Central Bank of Nigeria with the Africa Leadership Foundation and the Bank of Industry, have developed a collaborative model of mentoring, where mentors meet with the trainees in order to help them build sustainable businesses.

He stressed that: “the goal of mentoring is to give the trainees an opportunity to run their businesses effectively which would contribute to the state’s GDP by being employers of labour.”

He assured the participants that the state Government under the leadership of Senator Abiola Ajimobi will refund the training fee of 5000 Naira which had been paid by the trainees.

While appreciating the Oyo State Government, the project director CBN Entrepreneurship Development, South-West, Ibadan, Dr Olumide Ajayi, said that a monitoring team comprising the Corporate Affairs Commission, Federal Inland Revenue Service and other regulatory agencies, will monitor the business activities of the beneficiaries so as to ensure the maintenance of standard procedures for their businesses.

Let’s Redouble Efforts To Empower Youths -Saraki

youth empowerment, SarakiPresident of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said that “government, the private sector and academia must redouble its effort to empower Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship and greater self-reliance.”

He was speaking in his National Assembly office about the upcoming technology and skills building training programme that will be launched in Kwara State on Saturday, November 12.

The Senate President said one of the greatest challenges the country has to grapple with, is the need to gainfully engage the country’s bulging youth population.

“According to the latest estimate from the National Population Commission, Nigeria’s population is now approximately 182 million people. More than half of the population is under 30 and another 40 percent of that are under the age of 14,” Saraki said.

He added that “national leaders like me have the responsibility to take heed to these numbers and develop future oriented technology, training and employment schemes to integrate the younger population into our new economy. We must make these young men and women entrepreneurs who can also be employers of labour instead of looking for non-existing jobs”.

Under the Skills Acquisition, Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP), 40,000 youths are expected to be trained over four years with advanced skills and technology training in areas such as computer engineering, software development, animation, cinematography, event management and many other areas where the participants can grow to be self-employed.

The goal of STEP according to Saraki, is to make participants globally competitive in the sectors for which they will be trained.

He believes such preparation is important for future employment, starting businesses, creating jobs and putting able bodied and motivated youths to work.

“I thought long and hard about how our society can bring youths off the margins of society for entrepreneurship or gainful employment.

“With the help of consultants and other experts, we were able to craft a programme whereby participants will be trained by Nigeria’s best and most successful business leaders, technology entrepreneurs and other industry practitioners.”

Saraki also noted that the future of Nigeria’s economic security rests with how we prepare today’s youth.

He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts Nigeria’s economy will contract by 1.7 percent in 2017.

“We must ask ourselves, are we to plant the seeds for a prosperous and abundant Nigeria? Or do we ignore the danger signs about the current youth bulge?” the Senate President stated.

“I for one, believe it is a national imperative for us to promote the development and education of our young people today, so they may benefit from tomorrow’s global economy”.

Also in a meeting on held in Abia state on Friday, the Senate President encouraged the purchase of made in Nigeria goods.

bukola-saraki-displays-made-in-nigeria-bag
Bukola Saraki displays made in Nigeria bag

While visiting some members of the Leather and Allied Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State, he decried huge revenue of the nation that goes into buying foreign goods.

He therefore warned that any Ministry, Department or Agencies (MDAs) of the government which violates the Public Procurement Law will be dealt with.

The law has been put in place to compel the MDAs to give preference to locally produced goods in Nigeria.

Vice President Osinbajo Explains FG’s Economic Plan  

OsinbajoThe Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the Nigerian Government will keep working and applying necessary measures to improve the economy.

Speaking to Channels Television’s Chamberlain Usoh in an exclusive interview, Prof. Osinbajo said that a special protection programme aimed at addressing unemployment will be implemented.

The government has emphasized the importance of mobilizing domestic revenue to enable significant spending on social investment to the extent that 10% of the budget is going to be used for social protection programmes.

These will include training for 500,000 teachers, micro-credit scheme for 300,000 market women and several other youth empowerment programmes.

“Our youth employment is very crucial. We think that for graduate employment, the direct creation of jobs – the 500,000 teachers – will address some of that concern but for those who are not graduates, we are looking at investing in that also substantially.

“How we intend to do that is by this youth employment scheme,” he said.

Investment in infrastructural development has also been identified as a key component to economic growth and our correspondent sought to know what kind of attention the Federal Government was paying to this.

Prof Osinbajo said, “That’s why we are spending so much money on infrastructure and that’s power. We are going to spend a lot of money on power. If you look at our whole capital spend in this (2016) budget, it is directed at ensuring that we are able to improve the economy significantly.”

With the country’s revenue profile taking a hit because of the dependence on oil, the VP said that one of the critical sectors for Nigeria is the agro-allied value chain which the Buhari administration wants to also improve significantly.

“If you look at rice for example, we are looking at milling and how we can ensure that there is more investment in silos storage and also in milling.

“It is important to us that Agriculture is not a government business and what is crucial is that we create an environment and bring in private partnership.”

Professor Osinbajo also stressed that the cash transfer promised during the campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was meant for the poorest in the society and not for the unemployed people, as popularly believed.

Osinbajo Clears Misconceptions About Promised 5,000 Naira Stipend

Yemi-Osinbajo-Nigeria-Vice-PresidentNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says contrary to the misconceptions about the Conditional Cash Transfer, the scheme is well thought out and will cater for thousands of unemployed youths.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, Professor Osinbajo stressed that the cash transfer promised during the campaign of the All Progressives Congress was meant for the poorest in the society and not for the unemployed people, as popularly believed.

“There is a bit of misrepresentation of what it is.

“Some people have suggested that we are giving 5,000 Naira to unemployed young people. No!

“What we are doing for young people, graduates and the unemployed is the teachers’ scheme as well as the vocational training,” the Vice President explained.

He stressed that the government was looking at other aspects of social investments that would tackle the youth employment situation in Nigeria.

“Youth employment is very crucial, especially because we know now… with all of the percentages of out of school graduates and undergraduates who have been out of school for a while and have no jobs.

“We think that for graduate employment, a direct creation of jobs and the ‘Teach Nigeria’ scheme that will employ 500,000 teachers, will address some of that concern,” he told Channels Television.

Professor Osinbajo further stated that the government was also looking at addressing the challenges of those who were not graduates.

“We are looking at investing in that also substantially and how we intend to do that is by this youth employment scheme that will involve a lot of training in vocational skills, entrepreneurship, business methods and all of that,” the Vice President stated.

Buhari Meets Lagos Women, Promises Gender Equality In Nigeria

Buhari for womenThe Presidential candidate of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari has promised to implement the 2005 National Gender Policy, to ensure gender equality for Nigerian women.

Buhari, who said this at an interactive session with women from different walks of life, in Lagos, South-west Nigeria, further urged the women to vote out the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan in the forthcoming elections.

Top on the list of the promises he made was that gender would be “mainstreamed throughout all government commitments”, in key areas including economy, education, health, security, power, agriculture.

He also promised that the 2005 National Gender Policy “which serves as a road map for promotion of women empowerment and gender equality” will be implemented, noting that the current government had no political will to implement the critical framework.

He also said the promotion of anti-discrimination legislations and women’s rights would afford women equality and equity in several sectors of the economy.

During the question and answer session, some of the women raised several issues including employment opportunities for women and youths, domestic violence, support for the fashion industry, opportunities for women in government, the state of education in the country, affordable housing, cultism in schools, lack of structure in Nollywood, free health care, child marriage etc.

While addressing their concerns, Buhari stressed on the need to ensure stability in the power sector to ensure that entrepreneurs’ business grow, as well as strengthen the naira, which had fallen in value since the oil slump in 2014.

Buhari also addressed concerns about the Chibok schoolgirls, noting that it was an evidence of incompetence “If about 220 children (girls) of ages between 14 and 18 were removed from a single environment and for about a year the government could not secure them”.

Notable APC members at the event were Bola Tinubu, Lagos state governor, Raji Fashola, Lagos APC governorship candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Honourable Abike Dabiri, wife of former Ekiti governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, Edo SSG, Patrick Obahiaghon, Deputy Governors of Lagos and Osun states amongst others.

Unemployment: Nigeria Needs More Venture Capital Firms – Nweze

Austin NwezeA professor at the Pan Atlantic University, Austin Nwaeze, has urged the Nigerian government to emulate Israel’s system of funding small businesses, which will in turn create more jobs for the largely unemployed populace.

“In Israel, as small as it is, they have close to (between) 240 and 300 venture capital firms. These are the people that can understand risks,” he said, noting that conventional banks do not have the capacity to understand such risks.

Following the recent announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics, about the number of jobs created in 2014, Nweze commended the agency for its pro activeness under the current government, noting that unemployment figures are needed to help the government plan and also make policies to improve sectors providing jobs.

He noted that the informal sector, which had created more jobs in the past two quarters, needed a lot of attention as “government cannot create jobs”. He stressed that it is “entrepreneurship that creates jobs.”

According to him, small business make up the “engine growth of any economy” and if they do not thrive, the economy is headed for a fall.
“So we need to begin to make policies that would make it possible for this sector to grow”, he noted, berating government’s method of “encouraging small businesses to grow.”

He noted that funds were not available to small businesses and the problem of multiple taxation had not been eliminated.

Although President Goodluck Jonathan recently launched the National Council On Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to solve the prevailing problems, Nweze opined that the council would still demand “an arm and a leg” in exchange for loans.

“The thing is that, we are making a mistake by solving a problem by creating more problems. Now, until we begin to recognise the importance of Venture Capital firms, private equity firms.

“These are the people that will help. They have helped create finance businesses, encourage entrepreneurship.

 

Shape Africa Talk-Shop Looking To Solve Africa’s Problems With Initiatives

Joycee-Awojoodu-and-Jake-EffoduhThe organisers of Shape Africa talk-shop that will hold in Abuja between 5 and 6 April say the Shapers at the event will be looking to proffer solutions to Some Africa’s problems through proper collaboration of initiatives.

On a Channels Television’s programme, Rubbin’ Minds, the Curator, Global Shapers, Abuja, Joycee Awojoodu, and Jake Effoduh, Global Shapers, Abuja said that the talk-shop, with the theme, “Bold Solution, Change the Thinking, Change the Result”, will focus on how young Nigerians can begin to shape the country and the African continent through outstanding initiatives.

Awojoodu said on Sunday that Shape Africa is an initiative of the Global Shapers Community and a regional gathering of all the Global Shapers across the African continent.

There are about 20,700 Shapers Globally and 300 hubs across the globe.

The meeting will hold two days before the World Economic Forum on Africa scheduled to begin on May 7 in Abuja.

Shape Africa involves young people below the age of 40 who are doing extra ordinary things in their various communities.

Effoduh said that Shapers who already exist would induct new ones into the group described as the youngest platform of the World Economic Forum.

The Shapers hope to proffer solutions for Africa’s most pressing challenges, focusing on four pillars, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, Education and Technology.

“We are a part of the World Economic Forum community but we have a separate agenda. It is very essential that while we are having employment issues, our young people are actually employable when the opportunities are present.

“We have agriculture enthusiasts and we want other young people to be more involved in agriculture, considering how lucrative it is,” Awojoodu said.

Awojoodu will also introduce her ‘Solarpreneur’ initiative  that promotes renewable energy to young Nigerians that will attend the programme. She pointed out that if renewable energy potentials were fully tapped, it could power so many communities in Nigeria that do not have access to the national grid.

The Shapers said that the Shape Africa Community would also offer mentorship opportunities to young Shapers in Nigerian with sound initiatives.

They  also called on young Nigerians to submit bold solutions on any field to upload a one-minute video of their initiative on Youtube and send the link to [email protected]  for an opportunity to attend the talk-show  and stand a chance of winning an award.

Over 100 Shapers are attending the event.