From Harvard to Full Circle: A Leadership Journey in Transformative Philanthropy

2004, Harvard Business School. I had just completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP 166) at Harvard. Continuous learning has always been my guiding principle, a commitment to self-improvement that every leader should embrace.

During my tenure as CEO of Standard Trust Bank (STB), following the acquisition of Crystal Bank, my team and I engineered a three-tier strategic plan for business transformation. We diligently executed the first and second phases. In preparation to execute the 3rd phase of our transformative journey, I recognised the need to enhance my own leadership capabilities. This led me to enroll at Harvard Business School, setting the stage for today’s full-circle moment.

Today, I return to Harvard with great excitement – to witness the launch of a Harvard Case Study on The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), developed by Professor Paul Gompers, a Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

This study showcases the transformative impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in empowering young African entrepreneurs to eradicate poverty and reduce unemployment in Africa.

The Harvard Business School Case Study on TEF meticulously details our Foundation’s historical timeline, from inception to the present. It narrates the journey that led Awele and I to create The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the experimental early years, and the diverse empowerment programmes executed before achieving our vision of empowering entrepreneurs in a sustainable and scalable manner, with The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme in 2010.

When we launched the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme, we committed USD100 million and pledged to catalyse 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a decade. Today, TEF has surpassed its initial target, recording over 20,000 entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the programme and over 1.5 million entrepreneurs trained on the TEF connect platform. This is a testament to our track record of transformative success and truly impacting lives.

I am positive that this business case study will provide valuable insights for the students, offering new perspectives on navigating their business and career ventures, and a blueprint for executing sustainable philanthropy in Africa and the rest of the world.

I look forward to engaging with Professor Gompers and his students tomorrow, delving deeper into the case study and sharing the TEF journey towards uplifting entrepreneurship in Africa.

#TOEWay #Entrepreneurship #Africapitalism

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