Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa (UBA Plc), was on Sunday, decorated with the world’s most coveted awards, TIME100 Impact Awards
Speaking at the epoch-making event, at the Museum of the Future in Dubai on Monday, Elumelu, who recently clocked 59 years, said: “The world is in need of people like us — more than ever before,” to the crowd, which included celebrities, politicians and prominent business leaders. “We should pull resources together, we should commit now to help in any way possible in economically empowering others.”
Elumelu’s plea is part of the reason he was on the stage at the Museum of the Future in Dubai in the first place. The TIME100 Impact Award recipient has spent his career advocating for economic empowerment in the less fortunate places in the world.
The Nigerian entrepreneur paid tribute to the “hard working young men and women in Africa who aspire to help their families and their communities.” He shared his story of rising from a modest beginning to launching the Tony Elumelu Foundation in 2010, which is aimed at creating “significant opportunities and economic hope for others” while “helping redefine how all of us need to work together to uplift through the message of entrepreneurship.”
The foundation has given $5,000 each to 15,000 young entrepreneurs from 54 African countries as part of his effort to grow the entrepreneurial spirit in Africa and encourage economic development.
In addition to his philanthropic efforts, Elumelu serves as chair of the United Bank of Africa, where his vision for securing long-term investments from the private sector to drive economic development in Africa has helped create new job opportunities and turn the continent into a hub for innovation. And Monday night, Elumelu stressed that Africa and the world need investment and opportunities more than ever.
“In the 21st century, there’s so much poverty, sickness, and bitterness in the world,” he said. “Our calling should be one that has to prioritize humanity.”
For over 10 years, through the foundation, Tony has empowered thousands of women and men across the 54 African countries, by catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and ensuring job creation. The foundation leverages its strong relationships in the public, private and development sectors to drive its mission of creating prosperity for all. In 2015, the foundation launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, a $100 million commitment by Elumelu to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years.
So far, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has trained, mentored, and funded over 10,898 young African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries through its entrepreneurship programmes, and has provided capacity-building support, advisory and market linkages to over one million Africans through its digital networking platform, TEFConnect. This year 2022, TEF empowered 4,949 entrepreneurs with over $24.75 million to live their dreams and create wealth in Africa.