Billionaire businessman and the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group, Tony Elumelu, clocked 60 last week and celebrated the milestone with entrepreneurs making an impact in communities across Africa.
As part of activities held to celebrate him, a symposium was held in the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre, UBA House, Marina, Lagos. Dubbed ‘60 for 60’, the event had friends, family members as well as 60 beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.
The entrepreneurs acknowledged the impacts of the TEF funding on their businesses and projects, noting that the support enabled them to expand, create additional direct and indirect jobs, and impact lives for the growth of communities across Africa.
The event also had present and past executives of UBA and Heirs Holdings, Mr Elumelu’s family-owned investment company committed to improving lives and transforming Africa through long-term investments.
Lynda Kimeu, a Kenya entrepreneur, spoke about her Dial a Pad project and how the Elumelu Foundation helped to breathe life into the idea with capital and other logistics support.
“We had nothing until we got funding from Tony Elumelu foundation,” she said.
The entrepreneur explained that the project, which had earlier impacted about 35,000 people, received additional funding support and now touch the lives of about 105,000 people.
In his remarks, Sadiq Badamosi from Benin Republic explained that his company, So Clean, has improved sales through the $5,000 funding he received from the Tony Elumelu Foundation programme. Mr Badamosi, who explained that he got into the TEF programme after several attempts, explained how the funding support and networking opportunities gained from the TEF programme has impacted his dry cleaning business in Benin Republic. At the end of his presentation, the entrepreneur also presented another proposal for possible collaboration with the foundation.
In her goodwill message, Ama Harris, a TEF Alumnae from Liberia, explained how she has been able to provide education for underserved communities with the support of the TEF initiative.
“With the funding from TEF, we were able to digitalise education in Liberia and trained over 5000 children, employed over 20 teachers,” she said.
“Today is your birthday, and out of curiosity, we have come to see the man who parts with his hard earned hundreds of millions to support us without asking for anything in return, not even our votes.”
On his part, Seun Adekunle said Mr Elumelu has succeeded in creating shared values and impact lives across the continent and beyond. This, he noted, is evident in the deluge of tributes and congratulatory messages he received from leaders around the world.
Mr Elumelu was joined at the event by his wife, Awele, and one of their daughters, Oge, who both spoke glowingly about the businessman’s love and support for his family.
Mrs Elumelu noted that the UBA chair always wanted to celebrate his birthday with those closest to him, the entrepreneurs impacting African communities and creating opportunities. She expressed gratitude to past executives of UBA, adding that the symposium was “…a perfect way to celebrate his birthday.”
Mr Eluemelu’s daughter, Oge, described him as “an amazing man”, noting that she is “excited about the entrepreneurial success stories” of beneficiaries of the TEF initiative.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation was launched in 2010 while TEF Entrepreneurship Programme was launched in 2015. The foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub and disbursed over $100 million in direct funding to 18,000 young African women and men who have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Mr Elumelu is regarded as one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists. He is founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings, and also the chairman of UBA, which operates in 20 countries across Africa, United Kingdom, France, UAE and United States.
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