“We have to give more attention and support to emerging African entrepreneurs, if the continent’s poverty, inequality and unemployment challenges are to be addressed,” said the Director of UNDP Africa Regional Programme and the Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), in a joint statement issued.
The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to express their desire to work together to further promote entrepreneurship in Africa.
The MoU was signed by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, and the Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, Lamin Manneh, on October 14, 2017, at the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurship ecosystem―The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum― held in Lagos, Nigeria.
UNDP and TEF will work together to equip start-ups and existing small enterprises (SMEs) with necessary entrepreneurship skills to enable them to grow their businesses. The two institutions believe that this support will help unleash the entrepreneurs’ potential to create wealth and jobs, and contribute to efforts aimed at reducing poverty and inequality across Africa, thereby helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Equal attention will be paid to developing systems that will enable the partners to monitor the performance of entrepreneurs and their contribution to Africa’s growth and prosperity.
Speaking on the partnership, Mr Elumelu said, “Since the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme was launched, we have received over 150,000 applications, but every year we are constrained to support only 1,000. We are constantly seeking means to bring help to this much broader universe of deserving entrepreneurs. We want to give this group, that we have been unable to select, a chance too and this partnership with UNDP will help us begin to scale our impact”.
“Investing in Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs does not just address inequality, but also stimulates innovative thinking and helps in developing local solutions to local development challenges on the continent – it will spur innovation and structural transformation in Africa and bring about shared prosperity across the continent,” said Lamin, who added that the partnership with TEF will enhance networking among entrepreneurs through UNDP’s Youth Connekt initiative.
With a special focus on young and women entrepreneurs, TEF and UNDP will also undertake initiatives that will enable start-ups and small businesses to access affordable credit and other financial services they require to grow and diversify their businesses. UNDP and TEF will work together and contribute to efforts aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for private sector development, especially emerging entrepreneurs.