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Entrepreneurship is the Key to Unlocking Economic Development on Our Continent,” Tony Elumelu Says at The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum

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5,000 African entrepreneurs, private and public sector leaders and the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem convened in Lagos on Thursday, October 25, 2018 for the annual Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Forum. The event which is the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world, is a unique opportunity for bringing together young business talent, creating dynamic networks and transmitting the message to policymakers that a vibrant and responsible private sector will deliver economic transformation.

Now in its fourth year, the Forum marked the graduation of the 2018 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, following a rigorous nine-month period of training, mentorship and funding, which brought the total number of beneficiaries of the Programme to 4,470, with over 300,000 applications received to date.

One of the highlights was the unveiling of TEFConnect, a revolutionary digital community that brings together the complete entrepreneurshipecosystem across Africa and beyond, including entrepreneurs, investors and the broader business community on one platform, connecting them digitally with three vital elements for success – capital, market and business tools. Africa is riding a wave of rapid technological driven change in payment systems, education, agriculture and infrastructure and TEFConnect fulfills a critical role in linking entrepreneurs across the continent.

Commencing with a series of goodwill messages from key stakeholders in the investment, governmental and development communities, the event featured a pitching competition, panel discussions, as well as a vibrant interactive session between His Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo and the entrepreneurs, moderated by TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu. It also featured a session on the role of the private sector in the economic development of Africa with Dr. Awele Elumelu, TEF Trustee, Founder, Avon Medical and Gavi Champion for Immunisation in Africa; moderated by CNNMoney Africa Correspondent, Eleni Giokos. Parminder Vir, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation also unveiled the TEF Impact Documentary, featuring success stories of the Tony Elumeluu Entrepreneurs.

Tony Elumelu reiterated his commitment to championing Africa’s economic development by supporting and training a new generation of entrepreneurs, whose successes can transform the continent, delivering opportunity, job creation and social impact. ‘Africa’s future is in African hands’ he stated.

“Our Foundation and its unique approach of training, mentoring and funding has proven that entrepreneurship is the key to unlocking economic transformation of our continent. I believe so strongly that success can be democratized and if we can match ambition to opportunities, this extraordinary generation can achieve anything,” said Tony Elumelu.  “With TEFConnect, we have created a tool, that provides a digital platform to host ideas, champion success and demonstrate Africans ability to use the most advanced technologies to take charge of their economic destinies.”

His Excellency, President Nana Akudo-Addo of Ghana underlined the importance of galvanizing the broad entrepreneurship eco-system, calling on public sector representatives to encourage, support and replicate the work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in their respective regions.

Speaking on the importance of putting the right policies in place, President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “Nothing is changed or developed on its own. People must get up, speak, have discussions and change the dialogue”.

Since its inception, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has empowered African entrepreneurs across the continent with a $5,000 non-refundable seed grant, a bespoke training programme designed specifically for the African environment and access to a dedicated group of mentors, significantly contributing to economic growth, job creation and revenue generation.

The Forum was attended by key players in the private and public sector including Governor, Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulahi Abubakar; President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nike Akande; Former Governor, Cross River State, HE Donald Duke and Former Governor of Anambra State, HE Peter Obi, among others.

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Business

Ambode urges Entrepreneurs to leverage on Business Networks

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… As 2018 Lagos International Trade Fair ends

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday urged the entrepreneurs to build on new networks established during the just concluded ten-day Lagos International Trade Fair to advance their businesses for the economic prosperity of Lagos State and the country at large.

Governor Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, gave the advice at the closing ceremony of the 32nd Lagos International Trade Fair in Lagos.

He said the country had once again through the Fair showed the international community that Nigerian entrepreneurs have a lot to offer shoppers beyond the shores of the country in terms of products and services and called on business-oriented individuals to make the State a prime place of choice for their businesses.

“I urge you to connect with us in Lagos State as there are abundant investment opportunities waiting to be explored. Our State is investor-friendly and with your partnership, we are committed to doing more”, the Governor assured.

He expressed delight in the fact that Lagos State had consistently hosted the yearly event for the past three decades with huge participation from indigenous traders and entrepreneurs.

He, however, expressed the hope that the numerous trade experiences which the Fair has helped to facilitate will translate to increased GDP for the State, enhanced socio-economic capital for the citizens through temporary jobs, new investments, business opportunities and networks that sprung up throughout the Fair.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye maintained that the annual Trade Fair affords the State the opportunity to accommodate a number of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Lagos State Pavilion to relieve them of the cost of participation, thereby affording them the chance to showcase their products and services to the international business community and the general public free of charge.

According to her, the provision of free exhibition stands for young entrepreneurs was one of the many ways the State government promotes and provides business support for owners of MSMEs in order to stimulate demand for their products as well as services and ultimately facilitate the enhancement of their productivity and profitability.

She described the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during the opening session of the Fair as a promotional boost and opportunity for investment linkages for MSMEs.

The fair which started on November 2 had hundreds of foreign exhibitors, thousands of visitors and representatives of some States in attendance.

 

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Heritage Bank calls for increased govt, banks’ support in Agriculture sector

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Heritage Bank Plc has called on government at all levels and deposit money banks to increase supports in agriculture, as it is the most resilient and important sector of Nigerian economy, despite underwhelming investment in the sector.

The Executive Director of the bank, Jude Monye stated this while delivering a paper, titled, “Bank Experience in Lending to the Real Sector (Agric) of the Economy,” at the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) 2018 Chief Risk Officers Forum Retreat, in Lagos, yesterday.

He disclosed that increased focus on the agriculture sector would contribute to the Job creation objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as its labour intensive process across the value chain has the potential of creating multiple jobs, create wealth, and increase the sector’s contribution to GDP and foreign exchange earnings

Meanwhile, Monye stressed that the under-performance of the sector is closely tied; amongst other factors; to poor credit access from banks.

On the part of government, he decried that Nigeria’s Agricultural research institutes that are established to drive the sector’s business were underfunded compared to India’s.

“The 2018 budget allocates N54bn and N149bn (US$490m) to the agriculture and rural development ministry for recurrent and capital spending respectively.

“Agricultural research institutes have received an average of N28bn (US$90m) annually over the past five years. The comparable figure for India, with six times the population, is closer to US$2bn,” he stated.

He further noted that the economic recovery and growth plan of the government is heavy on Agriculture and MSMEs as key drivers of the economic diversification plan.

“Successful implementation of the Government’s Recovery Plan provides significant opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and financiers – particularly in the Agro-allied Sector,” Monye affirmed.

The Executive Director added that investments in infrastructure (energy and transportation) are supportive of the Agric-led growth.

He explained that to explore options for de-risking and unlocking bank lending to the Agric sector so as to develop and position the sector for increased contribution to the Nigeria’s GDP and revenues, there is need to Continue regulatory driven intervention funds to increase access to credit at single digit rates and long tenors, Improve knowledge of Banks and Bankers on Agric finance and Agricultural Risk Management through focused capacity building and many others.

Speaking at retreat with theme, “Achieving Economic Diversification for Nigeria via the De-Risking of Lending to the Nigerian Non-oil Sectors, the MD/CEO of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abduhameed, explained that the value chain financing is one of the major problem facing Nigerian agricultural sector.

But, he pointed out that NIRSAL does this by ‘de-risking’ the agricultural financing value chain, building long-term capabilities and institutionalizing agricultural lending through risk sharing with banks, technical capacity building as well as the provision of incentives to encourage bank lending.

According to him, Nigeria is endowed with all the natural resources to thrive in agriculture, but the sector lacks the capital with which to maximally meet the opportunities.

He stated that NIRSAL aims to increase deposit money banks’ lending and other private investment.

Abduhameed disclosed that proposal has been put before the Central Bank of Nigeria for NIRSAL to be recognised as collateral instrument as well as flow instrument, as this would fast track the de-risking of the value chain financing.

Group ED/Agribusiness TGI Group, Farouk Gumel, as one of the panellists, stressed the need to shed more light on banking agriculture rather than de-risking.

He also canvassed for more investments in infrastructure and addressing eco-climate system in the country.

 

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Business IQ CEO, Alfred Ijimakinwa presents Certificate of Completion at Skill Acquisition Program to Aspiring Entrepreneurs in Lagos

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Prolific writer, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Business IQ Magazine, Alfred Ijimakinwa on Sunday presented Certificate of Completion at the Skill Acquisition Program to aspiring entrepreneurs, who participated during the event organised by Capacity Development and Skills Enhancement Initiative (CDSEI) in Lagos.

Mr. Ijimakinwa, who spoke to the would-be entrepreneurs on how to position their businesses, said lecturing the young businessmen and women is part of his effort to give back to the society.

“Giving back to the society is necessity for someone like me. Every morning, 9am, for 2 weeks, I enjoyed speaking to these aspiring entrepreneurs on how to position their businesses. Today we present the Certificate of Completion at the Skill Acquisition Program organised by Capacity Development and Skills Enhancement Initiative (CDSEI),” he said.

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