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Empowering Entrepreneurs is the Route to Eradicating Poverty in Africa – Tony Elumelu Foundation CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

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As Tony Elumelu Foundation Past Beneficiary, Wecyclers, Receives King Baudouin Award African Development Prize

Brussels, Belgium, June 13, 2019—The CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, stated that building and empowering entrepreneurs is the route to eradicating poverty and creating economic transformation in Africa. She said this in a fireside chat in Brussels where she was a guest of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium as one of Tony Elumelu Foundation past beneficiaries, Wecyclers received the African Development Prize awarded by the King Baudouin Foundation.

During her remarks, she emphasized the need for Africans to develop a job-creating mentality, not a job-seeking mentality to catalyze the economic development on the continent.

She linked this to the work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and its impact on the African continent. Its mission is to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years through its Entrepreneurship Programme. Just half-way through the Programme, the Foundation has empowered 7,520 African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries, providing its alumni with a non-refundable seed capital of $5,000 each, training, mentoring and networking opportunities. To further scale the impact of its work beyond its 10,000-beneficiary goal, the Foundation launched TEFConnect—the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs—late last year. Already, the platform boasts over 500,000 registered users who network, do business and forge partnerships across the continent.

Hosted by the King Baudouin Foundation, the ceremony was in honour of the Nigerian business Wecyclers for their contribution to the development of sustainable recycling and environmental wellbeing. In 2012, Wecyclers received seed capital from the Tony Elumelu Foundation through a partnership with accelerator, CCHub.

Following the presentation of the prize to Olawale Adebiyi, Wecyclers CEO, Mrs. Ugochukwu commended the work of the team. The award represented further credence to the importance and potential of entrepreneurship in Africa in transforming the economy and lives of Africans.

She said, “The Wecyclers initiative is further testament to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s belief that all of Africa’s problems are businesses waiting to be taken on by the bright young minds we have in Africa”.

Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu closed her remarks by reiterating the commitment of the Tony Elumelu Foundation to supporting SMEs and MSMEs and in turn creating the millions of jobs that the youth population of Africa needs.

 

Tony Elumelu Foundation

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EY names southern Africa’s top entrepreneurs

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JOHANNESBURG – Southern Africa’s top three entrepreneurs have been named at the 22nd Annual EY World Entrepreneur Awards, beating out other finalists who demonstrated excellence in entrepreneurial spirit, value creation, strategic direction, impact, innovation and purpose-driven leadership.

Chief executives, founders and leading entrepreneurs attended the regional programme of the world’s most prestigious business awards for entrepreneurs: the Global EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™.

“Largely unconstrained by the mechanisms and processes of corporate entities, entrepreneurs go-to-market capability and ability to scale innovative ideas is far quicker than their corporate counterparts,” assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services company EY said in a statement.

“The programme makes a difference through the way it recognises this entrepreneurial agility, inspired vision, leadership and achievement.”

This year’s finalists included entrepreneurs who have built businesses across all sectors offering innovation and exceptional acumen and leadership on the topics of organisational culture, upskilling unemployed youth, tourism and conservation, effective food supply chain management, online payment and credit systems, insurance and insurance underwriting, the owner and operator hotel model and property and real estate across Africa.

Also Read: Interview With Deborah Ogwuche, Founder Of Food Channel Africa

The winner in the Master category was Craig Irvine, managing director of Irvine’s, a poultry focused company with operations in six countries.

Bronwyn Corbett, co-founder of Grit Real Estate Income Group won in the Exceptional category while the award in the Emerging category went to Ashraf Mohamed, founder of the Polar Ice Cream company.

The EY Lifetime Achievement Award for entrepreneurship was handed to medical doctor and University of the Witwatersrand chancellor Dr Judy Dlamini, one of South Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs who launched the Mbekani Group 22 years ago.

The group includes a range of companies involved in surgical equipment, facilities management, security, commercial property and luxury fashion retail.

“These entrepreneurs demonstrate extraordinary business acumen, financial performance excellence and inspired strategic direction,” said Azim Omar of EY Africa Growth Markets Leaders.

“These and most entrepreneurs embrace bold thinking that often sees opportunity in adversity; a relentless drive to build a better working world; and an unwavering commitment to solving their clients’ issues.”

The southern Africa awards covered Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Madagascar, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

– African News Agency (ANA) 

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TEF Director of Operations, Ifeoma Okafor-Obi’s Speech On The Strong Female Entrepreneur at Eloy Conference 2019

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TEF Director of Operations, Ifeoma Okafor-Obi with Tewa Onasanya, Founder ELOY awards (Pic: TEF)

Every morning Mama Bisi sets out – her stool on her head, her beans paste, oil and other paraphernalia in a bucket, held in her right hand – to the junction by 5.45 am.

By 6.30 am, passers-by and her loyal customers line up to buy her fresh akara while you and I send someone from the comfort of our homes to do the same.

Occasionally she hears the magic words – “Oya keep the change” and she is extremely glad. A smile rends her face ear to ear and you wonder…

You see, that N50 or N100 tip means more groundnut oil to fry akara, the occasional N200 windfall, an additional cup of beans – both direct investment into her business. Mama Bisi is frugal, there are no excesses around her except when once in a while, she gives in to her mothering instincts and buys sweets for her children. But when it comes to herself, she is extremely austere. 

Mama Bisi did not go to school but she is more financially savvy than some business school graduates. She knows the costs of all her raw materials. Even N50 makes a difference, it is salt for two weeks of her business. She longs to raise money to buy a full bag at N25,000 and reduce the cost of the cups of beans for her business.

She is a route-to-market, consumer segmentation and customer service expert. She knows the locations to sit at different times of the day to maximise sales. She also changes her product offerings from akara to buns and then to puff puff as each day progresses. 

Also Read: Meet Mariatheresa S. Kadushi, Founder of M-afya, A Mobile App Providing Health Information In Native Languages In Africa

She is a marketing expert. You can hear her voice early in the morning calling out in her local dialect that “if you taste better akara or puff puff anywhere, you should return her wares for a full refund”. There have been no refunds till date.

She is a branding expert. She wears her white Apron and tells you that it is to show her customers she is clean, and her wares are prepared under hygienic conditions. 

From the proceeds of her enterprise, she contributes meaningfully to her family, ensuring her children are educated, well-fed and well-dressed to the best of her ability. This is because Mama Bisi is a strong female entrepreneur. 

For a lot of women, motherhood and entrepreneurship are blurred lines- everything they get goes into the business and every profit or loss impacts their families. 

According to the world bank female labour force participation in developing countries index 2014,  as more women enter the labour force, economies can grow faster in response to higher labour inputs. At the same time, as countries develop, women’s capabilities typically improve, while social constraints weaken, enabling women to engage in work outside the home.

How then do we ensure that the work that they engage in is meaningful? How do we give Mama Bisi access to financing to expand her enterprise? To move from roadside selling to dry or wet premixed packages to expand her market and customer base? How do we help her uplift her family through entrepreneurship? What innovative models can we use to reach her and remove finance as one of the major deterrents to entrepreneurial activities, industrial transformation and private sector development especially for women? What trainings do we have to leverage her financial savviness, help her with the right staffing and corporate governance?  How can she access external partners to move from a small-scale business to a global brand, leveraging her unique recipe? How can she build a trusted network in the right sectors in the shortest possible time? How do we enable her to be the catalyst to harnessing Africa’s strengths – its youthful population and fertile land.

Bearing in that Africa needs 12 to 15 million jobs annually to reduce poverty.

The TEF Model

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a 10-year commitment to select, train, mentor, provide seed capital and access to a supportive network to 10,000 entrepreneurs to create 1million jobs in 10 years and generate 10 billion Revenue growth across the African continent.

In 5years we have almost reached our original goal. Partially through our partnerships because our model has been proven to be successful and sustainable. 

We are piloting a program to reach even more people with our UNDP partnership. We plan to train at least 10,000 each year.

What makes it successful is that we achieve in 1 year, things that take programs like the apprenticeship program 5 to 8 years to achieve.

TEF Democratises luck. The impact of our flagship programme is so far-reaching because we are gender and Sector agnostic and we chose thousands from across Africa. In the past 5 years, we have had targeted communication for women and almost doubled the volume of female participation in our programme from 24% in 2015 to 41.6% in 2019.

After a 12-week intensive training with emphasis on finance, scaling, structure and transparency, due diligence and mentorship, these women get seed capital. As part of our Alumni network, they also get ongoing mentorship and value-add exposure to enable them to scale their businesses and to access 2nd stage funding.

However, more interventions are needed to enable women excel. We need:

  • Mass education for women on financing options available across the business lifecycle. Females by default have a scarcity mindset and want to create miracles out of nothing. They need to know it is ok to ask for more to deliver more.
  • We need a female lens into the route to market for reducing the number of unbanked and financing female-owned SMEs through technology. Bearing in mind that ladies like Mama Bisi will never buy a smart phone unless her family is very comfortable. 
  • Increased access to seed capital
  • Access to creative financing for special sectors e.g. creative and tourism industries in which women excel.
  • Leveraging technology for global scale –This is what we are working to achieve at the foundation with our technologically driven Digital platform TEFConnect. We can create local communities showcasing female entrepreneurs in various endeavors to access global markets. Already we have connected a significant number of businesses across Africa. TEFConnect is our gamechanger.  
  • We need to emphasize the need for governance and transparency within businesses. That is key to being able to attract external funding. With increased transparency and verifiable records, the financing will come, and more meaningful jobs will be created. 

If this is done, then one day, Mama Bisi will proudly be illustrated on the covers of a premixed akara package bearing her name, in a store in London. 

TEF

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Banking / Insurance

InsurTech: Our Technology, Your Insurance App Solution- Coert Knoetze, CEO, Snap-it Cover

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Coert Knoetze, Managing Director at Snap-it Cover

InsurTech is the current fourth industrial revolution, digitisation is at the order of the day, computers are communicating without human intervention, autonomous vehicles, microchip implants, machine learning robots, only to mention a few, allare here to stay. We are living the reality of smart factories and a new dawn of technological innovations.

At every conference, every Broker breakfast we attend, every insurance Magazine we open, InsurTech is mentioned. Conferences are being held around the Globe with InsurTech being the buzzword of late. Times are changing fast, even our strategic business Partners are using Apps and doing virtual sales to complement their distribution channels.“Trov” is popping up all over the world, Hollard introduced us to “Naked”, Compass and Bryte went fruitful with “Pineapple” and “Granadilla”, Constantia came up with “Ja-Sure” and what will follow next?

Our own Brokerages will become more proactive and less time will be wasted if we embrace the technology InsurTech is delivering. For the first time your technology will elevate your revenue with relatively very little human input required. But that is on condition you do it well and adopt the correct technology to enhance your expertise. The network of computers is more efficient to share information, capturing our data, than humanly possible.  All there to assist the client at his fingertips… The true power of Revolution 4.0 is upon us, whether we like it or not. 

A new opportunity has arrived which it truly ground-breaking, a reality check in many ways catering for the expectations of the “new client”.  But speed is of the essence, the expression “First come, first served” has never been truer, our landscape has changed forever. How many Insurers are there prepared to support your initiative? It is a short term window of opportunity for Insurers and Brokers alike to use digital platforms and make it part of their value proposition. 

Doing so will set them apart from the competition and thus creating a uniqueness in their offer.  Theself-explanatory concept of “being out there”from the origin, from the beginning, needs no elaboration.Don’t be oblivious to the challenges, embrace it and optimize the offer with a proactive approach. Make this revolution your own. 

At Snap-It we have captured the core of Short Term Insurance, the offer, the service, the support and the “promise we made”. We have learnt from practical involvement, we’ve been taught by our own mistakes and reproduced you the initiative, in one awesome App. 

Also Read: Coverdor: An insurtech providing digital insurance experience targeted at millennial and emerging generation

Snap-it is a white label App which can easily be changed and resemble any Broker’s, any Insurer’s look and feel. Your own online App at a fraction of the cost. “Insurance-on-the-Go”, “On-Demand”, does not matter how you refer to it, it is insurance cover for when our client requires it. Your client decides daily, weekly or the traditional monthly insurance to be purchased. Yes “daily”, no more wasting premium where the risk is within your client’s ability to manage.

We ventured on your behalf, combined our experiences, summarised the intention of the competition, requested the input of many and now we are ready to roll out and supply the need. We are there to support you, not only in the supply of this awesome App but also an alternative to the norm, one amazing business opportunity too.

Contact us at [email protected]

Visit Us! Snap-It Cover

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