26 C
Lagos
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
- Advertisement -

Why I Made TIME100 Most Influential People of 2020

Opinion

#EndSARS Protest: A Fundamental Lesson in Democratic Governance – By Bola Ahmed Tinubu

I heavily grieve for those who have lost their lives or been injured during the period of these protests. My deepest sympathies...

#EndSARS Protests: Nigeria’s President Could Have Prevented Escalation of Violence but Poured Oil on the Fire Through His Silence – By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu...

Located in the central regions of Nigeria’s Delta State, Ughelli is a sleepy city in the Western Niger Delta and the unlikely...

We Must Get Children Back to Learning – But Business As Usual is Not an Option By Jutta Urpilainen and Henrietta Fore

A global joint op-ed by the EU and UNICEF on education for children “One child, one teacher, one book,...

Subjecting Anti-SARS Agitation to Political Interpretation is Jejune Partisan Stimulus By Chris Okotie

Chairman Mao once posited that if the people no longer fear your power, it is because another power is on its way....

Not every day do you wake up to this —honoured to be named to the 2020 Time100 from TIME. This has been a tumultuous year for all of us — challenging, humbling, and forcing us all to reflect.

Why am I there?

When in 2010, we launched the Tony Elumelu Foundation to champion African entrepreneurship, we had clear goals to catalyse and, yes, showcase the capacity, determination and power of the African entrepreneur. Young women and men shaping economies, creating jobs and singlehandedly confronting the clichés that often surround Africa.

Africa is not a “continent of unrealised potential”, but one of innovation, pulsing with productivity, as our entrepreneurs are reimagining and building a new future for the continent.

It is also about businesses like Transcorp Power, Nigeria’s largest power producer; UBA Group, a bank in 20 African countries democratising financial services and breaking down barriers to trade; Avon Healthcare, innovating in delivering healthcare —our Group CEOs like Dr. Awele Elumelu, Owen Omogiafo, Simbo Ukiri, Dupe Olusola, Uzo Oshogwe, and Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu ideally females! We are changing the African narrative – thanks TIME for recognising this.

Business and philanthropy have taught me that talent is evenly distributed.

Yes in California’s “Silicon Valley”, but also Lagos’ “CC-hub”, the young people are just as gifted, but the structures of institutionalised support, the networks committed to and invested in their success could not be more different.

Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity —where there is more opportunity, inevitably, there will be more success. It is this imbalance, the uneven access to opportunity for entrepreneurs in Africa that ignited my 2015 US$100 million commitment to empowering African entrepreneurs.

Our rejection of the status quo propelled us to fund, mentor and train 10,000 entrepreneurs and counting, creating a digital ecosystem of support for over one million Africans. The results have been phenomenal.

Across tech, agriculture, retail, fashion, education, healthcare and countless others, our beneficiaries are launching and growing businesses that are transforming their cities and countries.

Organisations including the UNDP, the ICRC and leading European development agencies are working with us to reach thousands more because what we do is pretty unique —we give capital, training and mentorship to those who can make a difference at scale. But the work remains just as urgent, this is no time to rest.

Young Africans should not be disadvantaged by their heritage and place of birth. They should not be forced to leave our continent. It is the responsibility of all of us —private sector peers and colleagues, the global development world, policy makers home and abroad and all stakeholders— to identify and invest in the next generation of Africans as the world has done for their counterparts elsewhere for so many years.

African entrepreneurs deserve the global spotlight today and every day after. This is a great day – I am proud, thankful, touched – thanks TIME.

Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist.

- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Business Profiles

Theresa Ekong

Theresa Ekong is the Acting Head of Compliance at Providus Bank. She has over 18 years industry experience cutting across banking Operations,...

Mark Oguh

Mark has 22 years experience in the Banking industry covering Operations, Audit and Financial Control. He is also a...

Aina Amah

Aina Amah is a graduate of Economics from the University of Lagos and an MBA from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. She...

Uyi Osagie

Uyi Osagie is the Chief Financial Officer of Allianz Nigeria. He joined Allianz as Financial Controller from 2014 and rose through the...

Usen Udoh

Usen Udoh is the Group Chief Human Resources Officer of the Dangote Group where he oversees a team of busines unit human...