One in three entrepreneurs in Africa admit to facing challenges in building and establishing their businesses. These challenges include lack of start up capital, failure to draw up business plans and lack of skills to drive their businesses to profitable sustainability.
This year 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent are gathered in Lagos Nigeria for the 3rd annual Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum. The entreprenuers who were selected through a rigorous process to take part in the forum this year will benefit from support from the tony elumelu foundation fund in form of business relevant training, mentorship, access to professional networks, business plan development and non-refundable provision of seed capital of up to ten thousand dollars (USD$10,000) to be disbursed in two tranches.
In East Africa, Kenya topped the number of participants selected at the forum at 75, followed by Uganda at 64, Ethiopia at 21, Rwanda at 20, Tanzania at 13, Burundi had 8 selected while South Sudan had one entrepreneur selected to participate in the forum. Areas of interest include agriculture, ICT, manufacturing, education and training, fashion, commercial and retail, health care, energy and power generation, waster management, construction, professional services, media and entertainment, tourism and hospitality as well as service consultancy. However Agriculture, manufacturing, education and training, ICT, commercial and retail, fashion and energy as well as power generation sectors/categories recorded the highest number of applicants this year portraying the areas of interest for investment by Africa’s youth.
However it remains to be seen if these mentioned business ventures are the key drivers of business growth across the continent or are vaguely representative of trends in specific African countries.
Edward Kallon, the United Nations resident Coordinator in Nigeria and one of the panelists on the opening panel on the topic of, “Afric apitalism 360” alluded to the effort to end hunger and bring peace to ensure a positive trajectory of a prosperous African continent as one of the gateways to successful entrepreneurship. “If each of you can create 10 jobs to unemployed youth, we would be able to change the continent”, Kallon challenged the participants. He believes in equal opportunity as the roadmap to inter connecting the unemployed to employment.
Serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the brain child of the #TEFForum said, “Our program is a deliberate effort to institutionalize luck and provide the essentials for business growth to Africa’s next generation of business leaders…”. Africa having the youngest population (mostly under age 35), has been summed up by global research as an opportunity for investment and in turn booster for Small and Medium Enterprises that are considered key drivers of economies through entrepreneurship.
“The foundation has been for the last three years selecting entrepreneurs based on the viability of their ideas including market opportunity, financial understanding, scalability, leadership and entrepreneurship skills demonstrated in their applications. $100 million has been committed to over a period of ten years empower entrepreneurs across Africa with the best practice skills to succeed in entrepreneurship.”
Follow the conversation on #TEFForum2017 #UBA4AfricanEntrepreneurs