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Unveiling Dr Awele Elumelu, who shares humanitarianism and philanthropy with Tony Elumelu




…each will receive $5,000 non-returnable seed capital to start off



The desire to improve the material, social and spiritual welfare and prosperity of humanity not by doling out of money impulsively but by emplacing  empowerment to give them self-esteem and fianancial independence remains the driving force and passion of the better half and soulmate of African investor and philanthropist, Mr Tony O. Elumelu.


Dr (Mrs) Awele Vivien Elumelu, the Trustee of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, is a silent supporter of female entrepreneurs in Africa and has been credited for this initiative. At least, young women, numbering 3,369 of about 68 per cent of 5,000 African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) selected in November for the TEF 2021 Programme.


Each of the 3,369 young women will receive $5,000 non-returnable seed capital as part of the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, thanks to the push of the woman beside Elumelu, a highly cerebral and quintessential administrator and harnesser of resources and potential.


Dr. Awele Elumelu, Gavi Champion


In all, the singular disbursement totaled $24.75 million to start up 5,000 additional African SMEs for #TEF2021 Programme.



Just like Tony Elumelu, she shares the vision with him the private sector holds the key to unlocking Africa’s economic potential.


Per Second News recalls that Dr Awele Vivien Elumelu’s presentation, akin to her husband’s, aired on the networks of Channels, TVC and ARISE, was profound and succinct.

The TEF is the leading champion of entrepreneurship in Africa with the objective of empowering women and men across the continent, catalyzing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and ensuring job creation. It believes the private sector’s role is critical to Africa’s development and that the private sector must create both social and economic wealth.


Dr. Awele Elumelu


Founded by African investor and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu, and representing his personal commitment to creating a new generation of entrepreneurs, through his investment company, Heirs Holdings, the Foundation is active in all 54 African countries.

“Our mission is implemented through our programmes, research, communities, advocacy and convenings, including the annual TEF Forum, the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in Africa, and TEFConnect, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.


“The Foundation leverages its strong relationships in the public, private and development sectors to drive its mission of creating prosperity for all,’’ the foundation said.


Persecondnews also recalls that in 2015, the Foundation launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, a $100 million commitment by Tony Elumelu to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years. Building on the Programme’s success and its unique ability to identify, mentor and fund entrepreneurs across Africa, the Foundation is increasingly sharing its robust delivery platform and working in partnership with institutions such as United Nations Development Programme, the African Development Bank, the International Committee of the Red Cross, GIZ, and United Bank for Africa Plc, to create meaningful and permanent impact across Africa.


Tony and Awele Elumelu

To its credit, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has trained, mentored, and funded over 10,898 young African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries through its Entrepreneurship Programmes, and provides capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages to over 1million Africans through its digital networking platform, TEFConnect.


A profound statement by Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo is instructive: “By every means, God has made His face shine upon you. You are not the only one, but unlike you, others don’t have the idea of empowering the next generation of Africans in the manner and scale that you are doing.”

Also a former Prime Minister of Benin Republic, Mr Lionel Zinsou, also said: “What Tony Elumelu is doing is the exception, not the norm’’, while His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone has this to say about TEF:“It’s a genuinely innovative approach to African philanthropy – an African offering African solutions. Other philanthropists will be inspired to support and promote this philosophy. Even when we had Ebola in Sierra Leone, Tony was there. His is an example which other successful Africans must follow.’’0

Dr. A.V Awele had on July 30 at the 2019 edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum delivered a powerful address of welcome:


“Excellencies: Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by Her Excellency, Dr. Mairo Almakura; Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Republic of Guinea, Madame Djene Condé; Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Republic of Mali, Madame Keïta Maiga, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, our distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is my great honour to welcome everyone seated here, and those joining us online, to the 2019 edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum. On behalf of the Founder–my husband, our family, and the entire staff of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I thank you for being here. To all our amazing entrepreneurs seated here this morning: I say, big congratulations!

Many of you have traveled here from across Africa. For a number of you, this is your first time of visiting Nigeria. So, let me not only say welcome to the Entrepreneurship Forum, but also welcome to Nigeria! We are truly happy to have you here – to celebrate you and to empower you!

As an entrepreneur, it is not always easy, I can attest. The reality of starting a business is tough, tough. They did not, and cannot, teach us the realities of being an entrepreneur in school. They did not warn us that having a great idea is simply not enough.

First, you have to raise adequate capital to lift your idea off the ground; manage the capital prudently; then, you need the right people – the right team to actualize your dream, the right mentors for advice and direction, and the right support network. You have to navigate rules and regulatory issues from agencies that you did not even know existed.

Then when your business finally gets running, there are those days where you just stare at the numbers, almost willing or wishing them to make sense. (Brief Pause) Yet you stand. You will not only prevail, you will thrive and be successful! Those ideas and innovations that came to you as you dreamt, in the shower, in the office, during chitchat with friends. They are crystallising into businesses that are transforming our continent, every single day.

You are the backbone upon which the future of Africa rests. As some of you may well know, this is our ninth year as a Foundation and our fifth entrepreneurship Forum. I hope that as more people take the stage over the next few days, you will enjoy all that we have with great care, put together for you. And that everyone, not only our entrepreneurs, will gain a lot from the insights of the speakers and leaders who have traveled from far and wide to share their knowledge and expertise.

They have made tremendous efforts to be here because of their belief in YOU and in the philosophy of Africapitalism that the private sector, especially SMEs, are key to Africa’s social and economic transformation. Let me also take this moment to thank our distinguished speakers who have made the decision, many at great personal cost, to be here. We are truly, truly grateful!

A key message that I would like everyone to leave this Forum with, is empowering YOU, our young Africans must be prioritized if we must develop our continent. I’ll take a quick step back to situate what we do in a global context. We have all heard that, with sixty percent of our population aged under 30, Africa is currently the youngest population in the world. The possibilities it presents for development are huge.

The expectation is that an abundant population of strong, able-bodied youth will lead to economic development across the continent. This is where our work at the Tony Elumelu Foundation comes in. When young men and women start businesses, they lift their families out of poverty. They bring prosperity, security and hope to their communities and create a culture of innovation and creativity.

They export African excellence to the world. And speaking of exporting African excellence – just a quick story. My daughters, like many young people, are huge, huge fans of Beyoncé. In fact, because of them, there is hardly any Beyoncé song that I don’t know! Anytime she releases a new album, it’s like Christmas day in our household. So, you can imagine the excitement last week when she released a new album. Screams galore!


But I was even more surprised when I looked at the musical artists featured on the album: Tiwa Savage, WizKid, Burna Boy, Yemi Alade and Shatta Wale among others. Our very own homegrown African talent sharing the stage with the biggest popstar in the world!

It is an amazing testament to the immense potential of African entrepreneurs individually and as a collective. With the right push, the right resources and the right environment, YOU, our entrepreneurs can compete on the world stage.

And this excellence cuts across all sectors – in agriculture, in ICT, in medicine, in fashion, really across all sectors! This reinforces our belief at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, that there are hidden gems in Africa who with the right amount of support, training and seed capital can be global trailblazers in their chosen fields.

Young Africans, there is excellence within YOU. You owe it to yourselves, your families and your communities to put in the hard work, to build the resilience, and to keep at it until you succeed.’’

There is something common to both Tony and Awele, that is, humanitarianism and philanthropy. The duo is a perfect match.

No doubt, the background of radiant and amazon Dr Awele Elumelu as a medical doctor of repute complements her Economist and astute banker hubby, Mr Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu, the Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA).

Dr Awele, according to Persecondnews research, is also the founder and chairperson of Avon Healthcare Limited, an indigenous long chain of clinics and healthcare facilities firm, ensured that the female folks got the lion’s share of the foundation’s annual non-refundable grant to young African entrepreneurs. Of the total beneficiaries of 4,949 and a total sum of $24.75 million, about 3,369 young women received $16.8 million which makes up over 68 per cent.

Dr. Awele, who is in her early 50s, has been described as a rare gem and a role model for career women across Africa. She has also contributed a lot to the well-being of humanity through her field in various capacities, are unmatched and unbeaten in the continent.

A mother of seven, she also oversees the healthcare investments of Heirs Holdings, one of Tony’s conglomerates and proudly holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of Benin. Her experience as a medical doctor includes medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and emergency medicine.

As part of her work experience, Dr Elumelu has had a stint at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and, in the UK, with Grantham and District Hospital, Grantham.

Her experience as a medical doctor includes medicine, surgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology and emergency medicine.

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