Founder of the TEF Foundation and chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu has disclosed that the luck he had in the beginning of his career and his passion to extend same to young Africans is the driving force behind the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).
TEEP is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs. The programme’s objective is to generate at least one million new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa.
Now in its fifth year, the TEF Entrepreneurship programme has empowered 4,470 entrepreneurs, using a bespoke and robust selection, training and implementation process to create visible and sustainable impact across all 54 African countries.
According to Elumelu, young African entrepreneurs are hard at work across the continent, identifying gaps in the market for specific products and services, and bridging these gaps with their innovation and ingenuity. “Yet, many of these budding entrepreneurs often lack the capital, the networks, the training, the support to take their small business to national or regional scale.
All they need is a helping hand, some luck, someone to believe in them and take a chance on them. “This is what the Tony Elumelu Foundation offers: a platform that empowers African entrepreneurs– from business management training, to mentoring, to funding to networking – championing their cause and giving them a global voice to actualise their ambitions.
“This is precisely why I launched the USD$100 million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. Indeed, these may be the next UBAs.”
Elumelu who narrated how luck brought him to the banking industry said “luck is real, it is powerful, and I am committed to spreading it as far as I can. I am a beneficiary of luck, and I am passionate about sharing it across the continent, to all 54 countries.
“In business the role luck plays in success and personal achievement is rarely discussed. While hard work is paramount, history and my own experiences show that there is often a large element of success that hard work alone cannot explain. It is simply not true that “you make your own luck.”
Narrating his experience and entry into the banking industry with the defunct Allstates Trust Bank, he said “I was lucky enough to be identified and trusted so early on in my career, and this put me on a unique road to success. I keep this in mind – it is humbling and also drives much of what I do today.’’