In a bid to tackle the unemployment crisis in Nigeria, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has admonished Nigerian youths to invest in entrepreneurship initiatives that have meaning.
The Foundation remarked that viable entrepreneurship initiatives would go a long way in addressing the unemployment problems Nigeria is battling and in turn create a million jobs which would facilitate economic expansion and growth in Nigeria.
This admonition was made by TEF’s Chief Operating Officer, Mrs Abimbola Adebakin while speaking at the Corporate Social Responsibility Children’s third Chief Executive Officers and Business Leaders Forum that recently took place Lagos.
In her remarks, Mrs. Abimbola Adebakin noted that the foundation is supporting, training, mentoring and connecting 1,000 entrepreneurs annually across Africa. She added, “For this year, we had 20,000 applicants from across the continent.”
She also stressed that out of the 20,000 applicants, TEF chose 1,000 applicants from 51 countries, 334 applicants are in the Foundation’s agricultural phase while other applicants are in other sectors as start-ups.
While speaking further about the annual programme, she said, “It is not specific to one particular sector. Rather it is all encompassing. These entrepreneurs are now receiving their 5,000 seed capital; about 900 have already accessed the seed capital. It was based on the fact that they went through the rigours of the 12-weeks programme.
“They developed their business plans and several of them had to change their initial concepts because of the exposure they received and they have also been linked with mentors from across Africa and outside Africa.
“This developmental drive is targeted at Africans who have seen the problems and opportunities facing the continent. The foundation is funding 1,000 entrepreneurs every year for the next 10 years. We have entrepreneurs in 51 countries this year, and the programme is open to all Africans. We will select another 1,000 in January 2016.
She further disclosed that the main aim foundation is to ensure that all countries in Africa have entrepreneurs who will put in applications when the 2016 version opens on January 1, 2016 on the foundation’s website.
She said, “Our website is the platform through which people can apply. Though, it is a very rigorous process, but it helps you to think through, many of them are in the marketing stage. They have anything concrete on ground.
“By the time they are done with the training, and they have acquired the farmland or the office space. The seed capital helps them to start. We believe that by 2025, when this programme would have completed its 10-year course, we would have empowered 10,000 entrepreneurs who will create a million jobs and add a billion dollars to the revenue of Africa.