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Foundation invests $100m into young entrepreneurs

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Somachi Chris-Asoluka

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs, has invested nearly $100 million in direct funding to support 18,000 young entrepreneurs in Africa between 2015 and 2022.

The funds made possible through the TEFConnect initiative have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs across 54 African countries.

The foundation has also trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub initiative.

Appointment

The TEF made this known in a statement meant to announce the appointment of Somachi Chris-Asoluka as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the foundation following the retirement of current CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu.

The appointment takes effect from March 1, 2023.

Somachi, who joined the foundation in 2014, has served as the foundation’s Head of Research, Head of Policy and External Relations, and most recently as the Director of Partnerships and Communications.

In her new role as CEO, Somachi will leverage her expertise, experience and network to provide strategic leadership in consolidating and deepening the foundation’s work of transforming Africa through entrepreneurship.

Important time

Speaking on the appointment, Tony O. Elumelu, said in the statement that this was an important time for the foundation and Africa.

“Our work is ever more important, and our platform is demonstrating our ability to truly catalyse change.

“We are increasingly working with partners, to magnify our impact. Somachi’s experience in partnership development will be particularly relevant.

“Somachi, as Director of Partnerships & Communications, has demonstrated strong leadership, commitment, and strategic thinking, in delivering the foundation’s mission to transform Africa. She is the perfect candidate to build on Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu’s impactful contribution,” he said.

Acceptance

In her acceptance speech, Somachi said: “I am honoured to be appointed to lead the foundation, particularly at a time when we will be launching a new Coalition for African Entrepreneurship.

“This coalition will bring together global and African partners to significantly increase the impact created by TEF’s unique platform for identifying, mentoring, training and funding young African entrepreneurs.

“I look forward to working with the team, our partners, and all stakeholders to achieve our common goal of a strong, confident, self-reliant Africa. I am honoured to build on Ifeyinwa’s legacy and launch the Tony Elumelu Foundation into its next phase of impact.”

The foundation

The foundation’s mission is rooted in Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.

The foundation’s ability to fund, train, mentor, and network young African entrepreneurs, has created a unique platform for catalysing growth across the African continent.

The robust ability of the foundation to reach entrepreneurs across geographies and sectors, has enabled it to conduct innovative partnerships with the European Union, United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other institutions.