Empower an Entrepreneur, Empower a Community, Empower a Continent.

Entrepreneurship catalyses

Entrepreneurship catalyses.

Entrepreneurship catalyses people, communities, countries.

Entrepreneurship can change a nation, can change a continent.

Earlier this week, while in South Africa, I visited one of the beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and was blown away by the impact that had been created.

I always love meeting entrepreneurs, bonding over the struggles, celebrating the successes – there is such a sense of community, whether we founded big or small businesses. Nothing is like the sense of exhilaration when you know that the dedication, ambition and sometimes pain, has created success – and success for me is always more than money – it is that wider sense of common good, community and progress that good businesses can create.

In 2015, Janine had a business idea, and she applied for the TEF Entrepreneurship grant. She was one of the lucky 1,000 to receive the $5,000 non-refundable seed capital to grow her business, the mentorship, and the training that all our beneficiaries receive, as part of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

Today, Janine has scaled enormously – Ukama Contract Packing (https://www.ukama.co.za/) focuses on providing smaller businesses with superior packaging solutions to enable them to package processed foods and retail to end users. These businesses are able to meet local demands within Cape Town, and help customers export across other African countries, the UK, and Dubai!

Janine’s food packaging business generates an annual revenue of $132,000, employing 30 staff, and contributing to the economic upliftment of Cape Town. It was fulfilling to hear her speak so passionately about her vision for the business, her plans to still expand further, and to shake hands with her staff — the indirect beneficiaries of our programme!

Often, we pay attention to just the entrepreneur and calculate impact of a business by the revenue generated, but the impact of a single small business in any community goes far beyond the numbers. Impact is the number of people that the business employs, the number of families that will get an income because of that business, the customers that will receive value because that business exists, and the strength of a nation’s economy.

Entrepreneurs like Janine demonstrate “Empowered women, empower communities.” Beyond profit making, Janine is also paying it forward by empowering female entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities with tools and support to create their own businesses and make a livelihood for themselves and their families.

She is just one example of how entrepreneurs are the driving force behind Africa’s resurgence.

I met nine other TEF beneficiaries based in Cape Town, who have become business owners and employers. I listened keenly to their inspiring entrepreneurial stories, which served as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of entrepreneurship in driving positive change and creating opportunities in Africa.

It was a fulfilling moment for me witnessing the achievements. TEF has empowered 20,000 young entrepreneurs across the African continent.

Empowering entrepreneurs is not just a moral imperative, but also a strategic investment in Africa’s future. By providing the necessary access to capital, mentorship, and resources, we can unlock the untapped potential of Africa’s entrepreneurial talent, eradicate poverty, drive self-reliance, and pave the way for inclusive growth and prosperity on the continent.

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