Africa’s leading entrepreneurship focused philanthropy, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, is launching the world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs and the African entrepreneurship ecosystem – TEFConnect.
TEFConnect will officially be unveiled at this year’s TEF Forum, taking place on October 25, 2018, at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria.
Harnessing and building on the success of Africa’s largest entrepreneurship catalyst, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, which has attracted over 300,000 African entrepreneurs as applicants and trained and funded 4,460 to date, the Foundation is further democratising access to opportunity. TEFConnect is an open source platform, which will provide bespoke tools and content to catalyse business development for millions across the continent, through technology and directly applicable content.
Positioned as the “Facebook for African Entrepreneurs”, the TEFConnect platform is a contemporary, intuitive, informative and user-friendly go-to entrepreneurship space, that provides five specific benefits to its users, among others:
– The one-stop digital home for entrepreneurship ecosystem players, including entrepreneurs, incubators, investors, academia and the private sector, providing news, informative resources, entrepreneurship events and opportunities.
– Creating the space to allow African entrepreneurs to transact across countries and regions in Africa’s largest digital marketplace, with traffic reaching millions of consumers.
– Access to free business tools such as financial planning calculators, business plan generators and marketing templates.
Access to the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme Application Form, Enterprise Toolkit and business mentoring by global business leaders.
Enabling entrepreneurs to promote their businesses to potential investors and other entrepreneurs for cross-border collaboration.
Speaking on the launch of TEFConnect, the CEO of the Foundation, Parminder Vir OBE said: “The Tony Elumelu Foundation is simply about empowering African entrepreneurs. First, we launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, to provde 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a period of 10 years with seed capital, mentorship and training. Next, we convened the full entrepreneurial ecosystem at the TEF Forum to forment engagement and deliberate discussions to change the narrative of Africa. Now, we are scaling our impact by connecting African entrepreneurship ecosystem on a single platform.”
The Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, CON also said: “In the four years, since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, we have shown that entrepreneurship can change a continent – we have invested in people and processes. We have already helped create business successes and brought policy makers into the entrepreneurial dynamic. But in many ways, we are scratching the surface. This year we are broadening our scope, taking the conversation to where interaction is increasingly occurring – the digital realm. By connecting African entrepreneurs globally on TEFConnect, we are further unleashing the true potential of our entrepreneurs and transforming the continent”.
The 4th TEF Forum will convene Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including the broad investor community, government and policymakers, leading developmental organisations, private sector representatives, the media and partners.
This year’s Forum will also feature an interactive dialogue between the President of Ghana, HE Nana Akufo-Addo and President of Kenya, HE Uhuru Kenyatta, moderated by TEF Found.
CNN meets Nigerian footwear designer Kene Rapu
On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International meets Nigerian footwear designer, Kene Rapu to learn more about how she grew her business and became the successful entrepreneur she is today.
Rapu explains how her interest in fashion began at an early age: “I was always, it sounds a little bit cliché, but I was always stylish because I was passionate, people would ask me for advice. Modelling got me into the fashion world [and I] made a lot of connections from working with Lagos Fashion and Design Week over the years… I did some beauty competitions, I was interested in fashion and beauty, but I wouldn’t say that I knew I was going to get into fashion as a business.”
She explains how a career in fashion wasn’t her first choice and that she originally studied law: “As a Nigerian, you always go for something safe and lawyers are safe… I figured out during my law school year that I didn’t want to practice law… I decided I wanted to go into fashion. I went back to the London College of Fashion and got a master’s degree in fashion entrepreneurship.”
Rapu began designing shoes after experiencing limited shoe options. She tells CNN: “I don’t wear heels, so I am very limited in my choice of footwear, and that’s how it really started…
Sometimes you would order abroad and having someone [who is] travelling bring it in, or you would have to go and search for something cute. It wasn’t at your door step… I found there was that need, which I didn’t find anyone filling at the time.”
Speaking about how her company started, she explains: “I started from home. I worked with local cobblers [and] we made the slippers. And I remember, everyone was like, ‘Oh, we love your slippers, where did you get them from?’ And people started placing orders. That’s really how [we] started…. We opened our first store three years ago.”
Rapu explains to the programme how her designs are influenced by her identity and why she’s proud to support ‘made in Nigeria’: “Our styles are also very much a reflection of myself. The brand is my name, so it is intertwined. We work a lot with Ankara print, which is sort of linked to Nigeria, and so that has influenced us… You see a lot of Nigerian women wearing this print, so they’re excited when they see the print in slippers, as well… The Nigerian fashion industry is growing… There was a point where no one really used to buy things made in Nigeria. We would either buy things that were imported from abroad or we would shop abroad … We weren’t really buying Nigerian. Overall, I would say the past ten years, there’s almost been a wave to buy Nigerian [products].”
Since starting her business in 2011, Rapu has continued to grow her company and was chosen to participate in the prestigious Tony Elumelu Foundation Program. Moreover, Kene Rapu was named one of Forbes Africa’s top 30 game-changers under 30. About the honour, Rapu tells CNN: “[It] was exciting, which was a great honour. I was very humbled… When I look back, I think, ‘How did this thing even? You know, this is insane. This is ridiculous. How did you get to this level?’”
In addition to running her footwear company, the young designer also helps inspire others and give back to the community. She tells the programme: “I started a workshop series at the end of last year… And by the time we were done they were so happy. They couldn’t even believe it. They were like, ‘There must be a catch. Why would you tell us all this information?’… I feel like because I have been blessed to have exposure, to have a good education, to have access to fantastic mentors, I think it’s only nice to pay it forward.”
On being a woman in business, Rapu simply says: “I’m a woman, obviously, but I see myself as what am I good at? How can I fulfil my purpose? How can I work my hardest? How can I do what I need to do? I feel like we all really just need to work together, to be the best we can be.”
Nigeria reportedly drops by 3 points in Global Competitive Index
Contrary to reports that Nigeria improved by 10 points in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, reports has proven otherwise.
Going by the figures above, the country actually dropped with 3 points in the Global Competitive Index.
Lagos sets to host Second Nigeria Beer Festival, promises Maximum Entertainment
As Lagos State is set to host the second edition of the Nigeria Beer Festival from Thursday October 25th to Wednesday October 31st, 2018, organisers of the event has promised to crown the week-long event with maximum entertainment to fun loving Lagosians.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the event in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr. FolaAdeyemi, the Permanent Secretary in the State’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture explained that the festival is in line with government’s agenda to grow the tourism and economy of the state.
He stated that Lagos state is collaborating with beer brewers in the country and their counterparts across the globeto stimulate the economic and tourism potentials in the State.
He enjoined Lagosians to come out in their large numbers to enjoy the ambience of the festival, assuring that the city is safe for fun lovers because of the various infrastructure development by the state such as Light-up Lagos among others.
“Lagos is a city state and in league with great cities all over the world. We are actually moving the state to a 24 hour economy and this festival will be part of the beneficiaries. Lagos is safe for fun and business. We are joining the global tourism world to create impact on the economy of Lagos and Nigeria.” he said.
Also speaking at the event, AkinolaOluwaleimu, General Manager of On and One Events Limited, the organisers of the festival informed that the festival will be held at the EkoAtlantic City, Bar Beach Water front Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos to give it a carnival atmosphere.
He noted that the festival, will promote responsible drinking among drinking-age (18 +) consumers at all its touch points.
According to him, the event, since it debuted last year, has seen Nigeria enrolled into the league of Beer Festivals around the world, and boost the country’s tourism opportunities.
“It will be a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country and beyond.This year’s edition will be bigger, better and “beertiful”, he said.
He revealed that the 2017 edition attracted over ten thousand beer enthusiasts and consequently the Festival has proven to become a major international tourist event in Nigeria with a potential to compete with other international beer festivals around the world.
“Nigeria Beer Festival will be a carnival week of entertainment, sales and marketing and a gathering of the largest community of beer consumers from across the country to bond and ‘beer’,” Oluwaleimu assured.
He added that the Nigeria Beer Festival will provide a fitting ambience to showcase culture and lifestyle in a carnival atmosphere with various beer brands and other alcoholic drinks in Nigeria connecting with their existing and potential consumers.
Oluwaleimu maintained that the festival, which will commence 4 p.m daily is a big opportunity for major breweries to exhibit and deliver various offerings of beer brands to the teeming consumers to strengthen brand relationship with them. “The timing promises an after work relaxation environment to bond with friends and associates, he said”
He also acknowledged the support of the Lagos State government through His Excellency, Governor AkinwunmiAmbode who found the private driven initiative worthy enough of its endorsement and providing necessary logistics supportin security, health, safety and publicity to ensure a hitch free event.
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