Yesterday, during a courtesy visit to the Governor of his native Delta State, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Founder and Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony O. Elumelu, CON pledged N500 million to create an entrepreneurship programme exclusive to indigenes of the state. He made the commitment after presenting 50 beneficiaries of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Your Excellency, on behalf of the Heirs Holdings Group, we will work with your office to put in place a new programme to support Delta State youth and I commit N500m to this purpose,” said Elumelu. “Indeed, hearing about your commitment to our youth and the impressive work you have done in the state, I am proud to call you my Governor and it makes me even more proud of my state.”
Governor Okowa in his speech, commended Mr. Elumelu for the work of his foundation, highlighting that TEF’s recent collaboration with French President Emmanuel Macron demonstrates the level of global recognition and stature that the Foundation has received:
“You didn’t restrict the impact of your Foundation to Delta, or even to Nigeria, you have empowered 4000 across Africa. What you are doing my brother is giving hope to others, who in turn will help to change the narrative of our country and continent and influence the people around them. You are changing the narrative of giving – not just handouts, but giving skills and mentoring. In the next ten years, the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation will be truly transformational – the multiplier effect will be huge. The whole country should support and think positively in this same direction.”
He continued: “I would also like to use this opportunity to encourage our brothers, sons, daughters and fathers that it would be heartwarming if we can make this kind of positive impact we’re seeing with the Tony Elumelu Foundation. It will help us reduce restiveness, and create employment so that as a country we have young people who are not just seekers of employment but creators of employment.”
A highlight of the event was the sharing of success stories between beneficiaries of the Foundation and the beneficiaries of the different wealth and entrepreneur development programmes of the Governor Okowa administration. One prominent Delta State indigene and alumni of the TEF Programme, Zion Oshiobugie, confided that:
“I was once someone’s houseboy, thinking of committing suicide when I lost my job. When I started my business, I was always asked for collateral, but Mr. Elumelu only asked for me an idea with transformative potential. Today, I run a school providing quality education for those who most need it. I am living proof that with money and training from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, dreams can come true.”
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is Tony Elumelu’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs from across Africa in 10 years. In its 4th year now, the Programme has empowered 50 entrepreneurs from Delta, 251 from the Niger Delta region and 1,862 Nigerians in all. Combined with this new Delta-focused N500 million commitment, Elumelu’s total investment in Nigerian entrepreneurs to N4.4 billion since 2015.