Journalism of Courage

Kagame, Sall, World Leaders to Attend TEF Entrepreneurship Forum in Abuja

The annual largest gathering of the African entrepreneurs hosted by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) will hold for the first time in Abuja, with Rwandan and Senegalese presidents expected to grace the occasion this year.

For the first time since the annual event launched in 2015, the forum will be hosted in Abuja, the Federal Capital of Nigeria and will bring together leading policymakers, business leaders, development agencies and the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem including alumni of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme.

This year’s forum is designed to provide masterclasses and panel discussions with leading speakers and sector experts from Africa and globally around the world, who will engage attendees in specialized training sessions to share insights, deepen their knowledge and refine their skills, according to the foundation.

It is also expected feature a pitching event, where select entrepreneurs will deliver exciting presentations on the goods and services they provide to a distinguished judging panel.

“The TEF Entrepreneurship Forum will not just convene the most important stakeholders in the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, it provides an opportunity for everyone to make a commitment to advance entrepreneurship and scale the impact of our entrepreneurs if we are to accelerate the development of the continent,” TEF CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said.

Keynote speakers at the highly anticipated forum include Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, Macky Sall, President of Senegal, who will join Tony O. Elumelu, CON, TEF Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings and the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in an intimate open house discussion.

The Presidential Convening is said to be the highlight of the forum,  allowing the African entrepreneurs in attendance to closely engage with political leaders, to give first-hand testimony of the important role government can play in catalysing growth and encouraging business ambition, according to the foundation.

The annual forum, fifth in its season, will host over 5,000 African entrepreneurs on July 26 – 27, 2019, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, spokesperson for the organisation said in a statement.

Half way gone into the 10 year $100 million commitment to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, the foundation will likely expand its target by a conservative 50 percent with partnership from several organisations including the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), among others.

It will be recalled that the foundation this year increased its annual target by as much as 205 percent, from its usual 1,000 selected African entrepreneurs to 3,050.

This year’s forum, according to TEF is the culmination of the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, which this year mentored, trained and seeded over 3,000 young Africans, selected from over 216,000 applicants.

“The event provides a unique opportunity for young women and men, from all 54 African countries, to meet, learn and network with the broader African and global entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is also a critical opportunity for political leaders and policymakers to meet, face to face, a new generation of African business leaders, who are transforming Africa’s economic trajectory,” the foundation said in a written statement.

Last year, a significant highlight was the launch of TEFConnect, the digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs, which provides a unique digital hub for the African entrepreneurship, facilitating networking, mentorship and most importantly business beyond borders. Previous Forums have been headlined by African leaders, including President of Ghana, HE Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, Former President of Nigeria, HE Olusegun Obasanjo, Former Prime Minister of Benin and TEF Advisory Board Member, HE Lionel Zinsou, Vice President of Nigeria, HE Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

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