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Tony Elumelu Foundation, European Union Strengthen Partnership For African Women Entrepreneurs’ Empowerment

ABUJA – The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a prominent philanthropic organization dedicated to empowering a new generation of young African entrepreneurs, recently played host to a delegation of esteemed partners from the European Union at the renowned Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.

This gathering marked the visit of the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, and the EU delegation to Nigeria.

This event represented a significant milestone in the ongoing collaboration between the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union.

In 2021, the Tony Elumelu Foundation joined forces with the European Union to identify, train, mentor, and financially support 2,500 young African women entrepreneurs.

This partnership allocated €20 million for financial and technical assistance to women-owned businesses across all 54 African countries. Additionally, it aimed to enhance access to market opportunities, supply chains, and venture capital investments.

This collaboration not only reinforced EU-Africa relations but also built upon the transformational approach of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, a $100 million initiative. It aligned with the EU External Investment Plan and the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP III), focusing on women’s economic empowerment.

During the event, Tony O. Elumelu CFR., the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, expressed their satisfaction with the remarkable success achieved through the TEF-EU partnership.

They celebrated the achievements of young African women entrepreneurs who have thrived under their mentorship and support.

Both leaders expressed their eagerness for the future of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s collaboration with the European Union.

They reaffirmed their commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development in Africa, paving the way for a prosperous future for the continent.

Tony O. Elumelu who is also the Chairman,  Chairman Of United Bank Of Africa (UBA) said, “I speak for every young African entrepreneur when I say thank you and welcome to Africa.

“Together, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union have economically empowered thousands of women entrepreneurs across the continent, providing each of them with a non-refundable seed capital of $5,000.

We share the belief that prosperity anywhere is beneficial for all of us, and poverty anywhere poses a threat to us everywhere.”

Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen remarked, “It is great to have this opportunity to hear the impressive stories of beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s inclusive support programs, backed also by the European Union.

“When I was appointed as the EU Commission of International Partnerships 2019, I had an objective, I really wanted to change the paradigm. The paradigm of our partnership with Africa,

“I wanted to get rid of the existing donor-recipient relationship, where donors tell and impose their expectations on Africans. We look forward to changing the paradigm and creating mutually beneficial partnerships and equal partnerships.”

As the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the European Union continue their collaborative efforts, they remain steadfast in their commitment to empower entrepreneurs, foster innovation, and drive positive change across the African continent.

Their partnership serves as an inspiring example for future generations and illustrates the vast potential that arises when organizations come together to uplift communities.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is at the forefront of philanthropic initiatives, empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, working towards eradicating poverty, creating jobs across all 54 African countries, and advancing women’s economic empowerment.

Since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans through its digital hub, TEFConnect, and provided nearly USD$100 million in direct funding to 18,000 African women and men, leading to the creation of over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The Foundation’s mission is rooted in Africapitalism, which places the private sector and, particularly, entrepreneurs, as catalysts for the social and economic development of the African continent.

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