The Tony Elumelu Foundation and 25 Kaduna based entrepreneurs from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) were hosted by His Excellency, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State at the weekend to an informative session at the Government House, Kaduna. During the event, Tony Elumelu Foundation Chief Operating Officer, Abimbola Adebakin,presented data from the Foundation’s research and policy arm- The Africapitalism Institute, revealing statistics about stumbling blocks that entrepreneurs face, based on interviews with 25 Kaduna entrepreneurs from TEEP. Parminder Vir OBE, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation said of the initiative:
“Almost 500 of the 1,000 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs we selected for TEEP 2015 are Nigerian, and we are proud of the fact that this nation is bursting with entrepreneurial talent. What we are doing with TEEP is to empower start-ups with training, mentorship and access to finance. This event with Governor El-Rufai signifies the growing awareness that entrepreneurship is catalytic to job creation and economic prosperity.”
At the event, Governor El-Rufai, who delivered a keynote address in July at the innaugural bootcamp for the selected 1000 entrepreneurs of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, reiterated his position on the role of government in supporting entrepreneurship: “I like what Tony Elumelu is doing with this entrepreneurship programme […] and I am especially encouraged to see that 8 out of the 25 Kaduna Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs are in agriculture. I want to see more of our young people doing the same.” Hafiz Bayero, Special Assistant to Governor El-Rufai on Job Creation, Kaduna, also gave a talk on the State’s plans to empower entrepreneurs, and revealed that the 12-week online training programme of TEEP would be replicated in Kaduna. Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, His Excellency, Abdulaziz Yari and Katsina State Governor, His Excellency, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari also joined the session with the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and expressed alignment with this initiative. Tony O. Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation commended the governor for keeping his pledge to support the entrepreneurs, saying: “Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of any society and I believe that the private sector’s push for development is enhanced when government creates the enabling environment. Gov. El-Rufai absolutely understands that shaping policies to encourage entrepreneurs is necessary to bring development to the society. I applaud his support of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme and his commitment to replicating this further for the benefit of entrepreneurs in Kaduna.” The 25 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs in Kaduna are among the 1000 African entrepreneurs from 51 African countries selected in the first year of the TEEP, a $100 million initiative that aims to create over a million jobs and generate at least $10 billion revenue, over the space of a decade.