Johannesburg, South Africa
Zimbabwean mathematician and author, Edzai Conilias Zvobwo, affectionately known as “The MathsGenius” is among the 1 250 entrepreneurs who have been selected for the prestigious Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) programme.
More than 150,000 Africans from 114 countries worldwide applied to join the 4th cycle of The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s 10-year, $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. Today, the Foundation announced the African entrepreneurs with the most innovative, high-potential business ideas.
The 2018 cohort includes an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection of 1,000 – thanks to a \$1,000,000 partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria (the North East where the Boko Haram scourge is felt and the Niger Delta region which suffers environmental degradation from oil spillage) a \$200,000 agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs and a \$50,000 partnership with Indorama to support 10 Nigerians.
TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, commented: “The number and quality of applicants, 151,000 in total, was outstanding – it illustrates the strength and depth of entrepreneurial promise and commitment on our continent. Selection is never easy, and we profoundly regret that we cannot help all. Our partnerships with the Red Cross, UNDP and Indorama, alongside ongoing discussions with other international organizations, reflect the growing global recognition of what we have known all along – that entrepreneurship is the most effective path to sustainable development on our continent and our programme is the model to follow.”
Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian business tycoon has committed to empowering African small business people through his ideology called africapitalism. Africapitalism is an economic philosophy that is predicated on the belief that Africa’s private sector can and must play a leading role in the continent’s development.
The principles of Africapitalism are:
- Entrepreneurship. Unlock the power of individuals to create and grow their business ideas into successful companies
- Long-term Investments. Deploy patient capital that creates greater and broader economic value as opposed to merely the extraction of resources
- Strategic Sectors. Invest in sectors delivering a financial return as well as broader economic and social value – agriculture, power, healthcare, and finance
- Development Dividend. Conduct investments and business activity in a manner that delivers financial returns to shareholders as well as economic and social benefit to stakeholders
- Value-Added Growth. Leverage locally available human and financial capital, raw material and other inputs that create longer, more integrated, and higher value regional supply chains
- Regional Connectivity. Facilitate intra-regional commerce and trade through the development of national and cross-border physical infrastructure, and the harmonization of policies and practices
- Multi-Generational Development. Focus on investments and economic growth strategies that build value for future generations
- Shared Purpose. Foster collaboration between businesses, investors, governments, academia, civil society, philanthropists, and development institutions to create conditions that will empower the African private sector to thrive
Africapitalism is a call-to-action for businesses to make decisions that will increase economic and social wealth, and promote development in the communities and nations in which they operate. Such a decision will ultimately help businesses become more profitable as the communities they serve become well-off consumers, healthy and better educated employees, and even entrepreneurs who go on to become suppliers and service providers.
Africapitalism means that the business of development cannot be left to governments, donor countries and philanthropic organizations alone. The private sector must be involved in the business of development.
Edzai Zvobwo was ecstatic about his selection and is looking forward to the courses and the conference to be held in Nigeria later on in the year. Speaking to 1873FM, he stated, “I am very happy to be part of this select group of people who have gone through a rigorous process and have been given the nod that they have something tangible that will assist in pushing Africa forward. I resonate with the idea of africapitalism and hope to grow so as to able to support future entrepreneurs in the mother continent.”
The full list of selected entrepreneurs can be found HERE.