Building and Empowering Entrepreneurs is the Route to Eradicating Poverty and Creating Economic Transformation in Africa

The CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, stated that building and empowering entrepreneurs is the route to eradicating poverty and creating economic transformation in Africa. She said this in a fireside chat in Brussels where she was a guest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium as one of Tony Elumelu Foundation past beneficiaries, Wecyclers received the African Development Prize awarded by the King Baudouin Foundation.

During her remarks, she emphasized the need for Africans to develop a job-creating mentality not a job-seeking mentality to catalyse the economic development on the continent. 

She linked this to the work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and its impact on the African continent. Its mission is to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years through its Entrepreneurship Programme. Just half-way through the Programme, the Foundation has empowered 7,520 African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries, providing its alumni with non-refundable seed capital of $5,000 each, training, mentoring and networking opportunities. To further scale the impact of its work beyond its 10,000-beneficiary goal, the Foundation launched TEFConnect—the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs—late last year. Already, the platform boasts over 500,000 registered users who network, do business and forge partnerships across the continent. 

Hosted by the King Baudouin Foundation, the ceremony was in honour of the Nigerian business Wecyclers for their contribution to the development of sustainable recycling and environmental wellbeing. In 2012, Wecyclers received a seed capital from the Tony Elumelu Foundation through a partnership with accelerator, CCHub. 

Following the presentation of the prize to Olawale Adebiyi, Wecyclers CEO, Mrs. Ugochukwu commended the work of the team. The award represented further credence to the importance and potential of entrepreneurship in Africa in transforming the economy and lives of Africans.

She said, “The Wecyclers initiative is further testament to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s belief that all of Africa’s problems are businesses waiting to be taken on by the bright young minds we have in Africa”.

Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu closed her remarks by reiterating the commitment of the Tony Elumelu Foundation to supporting SMEs and MSMEs and in turn creating the millions of jobs that the youth population of Africa need.

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