Nigerian banker and economist Tony Elumelu has selected 4,949 entrepreneurs from across Africa for his philanthropic foundation’s 2021 entrepreneurship program, as the Nigerian businessman delivers on his promise to empower entrepreneurs on the continent.
According to a press report issued by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, each of the entrepreneurs received $5,000, putting the total funding support paid out to the entrepreneurs at $24.75 million.
The 2021 beneficiaries were selected from a pool of more than 400,000 applicants in 54 African countries based on their creativity, level of innovation, performance and potential to create jobs and eradicate the endemic poverty on the continent.
The selected entrepreneurs consist of owners of newly established startups and existing small businesses, all of whom have undergone world-class business training under the foundation.
In addition to the training, Elumelu assured them that they will receive continued mentorship and coaching and lifetime access to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s alumni network.
The Nigerian banker called on African leaders to make investments in Africa’s young energetic, hardworking and resilient entrepreneurs.
He noted that an enabling environment must be created to foster their development, as their success is important for everyone on the continent.
“We need to keep creating the right enabling environment to enable our young ones to succeed. We must realize that their success is success for all of us on the continent. We must prioritize them because nations and continents that prioritize their people, succeed,” he said.
The Nigerian business tycoon has now funded a total of 15,847 entrepreneurs, who have created more than 400,000 direct and indirect jobs across the continent.
Through TEFConnect, the foundation’s digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs, it has also provided capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages to over 1.5 million Africans.
As of the closing of the Nigerian Exchange on Fri., Nov. 12, shares in United Bank for Africa, a leading banking group founded by Elumelu, were trading at N8.45 ($0.02054), giving the Lagos-based financial services company an N288.98-billion ($702.5 million) valuation.
Meanwhile, the market value of Elumelu’s stake in the group is N20.12 billion ($48.91 million).