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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

Press Release

Tokunboh Ishmael Joins Endeavor Board

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Tokunboh Ishmael, Managing Director and co-founder of Alitheia Capital (Photo: Endeavor Nigeria)

Endeavor Nigeria announced today the appointment of ‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Managing Director and co-founder of Alitheia Capital, to its board of directors.

Tokunboh Ishmael is an impact investor with over 20 years of experience spanning investment banking, private equity investing, technology, and business development in Africa, Europe, and North America. She is the Managing Director, and co-founder of Alitheia Capital, Nigeria-based investment management and advisory firm focused on channeling private equity investments into small and medium-sized businesses in West Africa.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Tokunboh Ishmael to the board of Endeavor in Nigeria,” said Tosin Faniro-Dada, Managing Director and CEO of Endeavor Nigeria. “Mrs. Ishmael is an inspiration to the digital ecosystem, and we’re certain she will add tremendous value as well as a unique perspective to the team with over 20 years of experience in Private Equity and Venture Capital in Africa; ESG and Impacting Investing; Gender Lens Investing; and Diversity and Inclusion.”

Ishamael joins Endeavor Nigeria’s board members, including Atedo Peterside CON (Board Chairman, Endeavor Nigeria and President & Founder, Anap Foundation), Bolaji Balogun (Board Vice-Chairman, Endeavor Nigeria, and CEO, Chapelhill Denham), Jaideep Gulab (CEO, Rosemonde), Halima Aliko Dangote (Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries Limited), Yemi Lalude (Managing Partner, TPG Growth), Andrew Alli (Group CEO & Partner, SouthBridge Group), Mitchell Elegbe (Founder & GMD, Interswitch Group), Faysal El-Khalil (Chairman, Seven-Up Bottling Company), Suresh Chellaram (Chairman, Chellarams Group), and Tosin Faniro-Dada (Managing Director & CEO, Endeavor Nigeria).

Endeavor Nigeria’s board of directors comprises top business leaders who actively support the organization’s efforts to advance the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and economy.

Commenting on the appointment, Atedo Peterside CON, Chairman of the Board, said, “We’re honored to welcome ‘Tokunboh Ishmael to the Board of Directors of Endeavor Nigeria. We are certain that she will bring tremendous value to the Endeavor network, drawing on very relevant practical experiences. It will also further enhance the strong role that Endeavor Nigeria has been playing in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria as a whole.

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I look forward to working closely with her on the board and strategy level.”

Speaking on the appointment, ‘Tokunbo Ishmael said, “I am pleased to join the board of Endeavor Nigeria, an institution that has played a key role in placing high-impact, transformative African entrepreneurs and businesses on the global map. I look forward to contributing my unique experience to the energetic and visionary leadership of the organization to unlock further growth and impact through Endeavor Nigeria’s robust initiatives and network.”

Endeavor is the world’s leading community of high-impact entrepreneurs. Founded in 1997, Endeavor is a global organization with a mission to unlock the transformational power of entrepreneurship by selecting, supporting, and investing in the world’s top founders. Today, Endeavor’s network spans 41 markets and supports more than 2,300 entrepreneurs whose companies generate combined revenues of over $42 billion US and have created more than 3.9 million jobs. Endeavor’s unique entrepreneur-first model and network of trust provide a platform for founders to dream big, scale up, and pay it forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Endeavor launched its Nigeria office in 2018 to select and support the best founders of companies at the scale-up and growth stage who recognise a responsibility to pay it forward and multiply their impact in Nigeria’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. In Nigeria, Endeavor aims to select 4-6 companies a year, and today there are 33 Endeavor Entrepreneurs leading 16 companies in their portfolio. 

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Health

mPharma acquires majority stake in HealthPlus

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mPharma, Africa’s leading patient-centered technology-driven healthcare company, has acquired the majority stake in HealthPlus, the leading pharmacy chain in Nigeria. mPharma and the former investor, Alta Semper, have signed an agreement leading to the acquisition of a majority stake in the HealthPlus Group.

According to the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of mPharma, Gregory Rockson, the acquisition is in line with the company’s mission to build an Africa that is in good health by delivering life-changing healthcare services and drugs to improve health outcomes for patients. He stated that the acquisition of the HealthPlus Pharmacy chain by mPharma complements mPharma’s deep commitment to increasing patient access to affordable and quality healthcare in Nigeria.

“mPharma is deepening its long-standing commitment to Africa by reimagining primary healthcare in some of the most vulnerable communities on the continent. We continue to transform community pharmacies into primary care centers to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to all patients so they can live not just longer but healthier lives. We are optimistic about the future of healthcare for Nigerians through the acquisition of HealthPlus.”, said Rockson.

In her remarks on the acquisition, Afsane Jetha, Co-founder and CEO at Alta Semper Capital, said: “We are delighted about HealthPlus’ partnership with mPharma. We have a strong conviction in mPharma’s strategy of revolutionizing primary care across Africa and believe mPharma is the ideal steward for HealthPlus’s next chapter of growth. We believe mPharma’s vision is consistent with that of HealthPlus’s shareholders and employees, and we are enthusiastic to support the business through a relationship with mPharma going forward”.

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While mPharma plans to continue to keep and strengthen HealthPlus as Nigeria’s leading pharmacy brand in Nigeria, the acquisition will also provide expansion opportunities for mPharma within Nigeria and a platform to expand mPharma’s mutti pharmacy retail footprint across the continent through its fast-growing QualityRx program. Powered by mPharma’s proprietary Bloom software, HealthPlus will provide patients access to affordable primary care services within its pharmacies, in addition to affordable and quality medications it currently retails across 12 states in Nigeria. The HealthPlus pharmacy chain will also launch mutti®, mPharma’s health membership program, which will provide both existing and new customers with discounts, interest-free “heal-now-pay-later” plans, free health screenings, and other primary care services.

By combining HealthPlus pharmacies with mPharma’s growing portfolio of partner mutti pharmacies and GoodHealth shops (PPMVs),mPharma’s network will grow from 224 to over 320 health facilities in Nigeria and will provide care to more than 100,000 Nigerians each month.

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Corporate Executive

Chantel Cooper: The Epitome of Empathy and Care

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Chantel Cooper, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust (Image: Supplied)

Chantel joined the Children’s Hospital Trust in 2013 as the Head of Fundraising and Communication and was appointed as CEO in 2019. For her, 2020 was a year that reinforced the importance of the core purpose of the Trust and the difference the organisation wants to make in the lives of children. “Our cause is driven by the need to make a difference in the lives of sick and injured children. We are people who work together to save the lives of the children who matter. We all have a purpose!” she says.

Sharing excerpts from her journey, Chantel says:

“My purpose in life is to serve those who are most vulnerable: women and children. My career was driven by my passion to make a real difference in the lives of women and children. When I was 18 years old, I volunteered for an organisation that provided support for women who had been raped. While volunteering, I started working with women in rural areas in the Eastern Cape where we found opportunities to grow their businesses.

“My passion for women led me to Cape Town where I became Director of Rape Crisis Cape Town when I was 27 years old. After the birth of my two children, I moved to an organisation called St Joseph’s Home for chronically Ill Children. St Joseph’s is a step-down facility for tertiary hospitals like the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. It was a profound move for me as I was able to work with children who inspired me.

“One of the most valuable lessons I learnt is the power of love. You can offer a child the best healthcare in the world, but what a child wants most is their parents to love them and be by their side. This is the value I most appreciate about the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and my past experiences. This hospital believes in child-centered care and knows that a child heals when their parent or caregiver is by their side – even during the COVID-19 pandemic. All other hospitals had restricted access to patients, but the presence of a parent is imperative to their sick or injured child’s healing.”

Overcoming Adversities

“The COVID-19 pandemic taught our team that life can change in a blink of an eye and that we need to be prepared for all possibilities. The pandemic hit the world with such speed and velocity that we had no choice but to find a way to not only sail through the storm but also find ways to get out of the situation stronger than before.”

Chantel also states that 2020 provided the Children’s Hospital Trust with the opportunity to learn extraordinary lessons that they would not have normally had the opportunity to learn and some of these include:

  • The value of deep listening and the importance of demonstrating kindness.
  • Working in collaboration created the opportunity for meaningful impact for our beneficiaries.
  • Opportunities do exist during challenging times; positivity exposed the opportunities.
  • Adapting to change during uncertain times helped to build a resilient team.

“Our Trust team demonstrated ingenuity, compassion, resilience, commitment, and fortitude during a very difficult time. As a result, we surpassed our goals, and this enabled our organisation to reach more children and families. We are grateful for the contribution from every individual,” adds Chantel.

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“Walking through the corridors of a children’s hospital during a crisis gave perspective on the real value of care, kindness, and collaboration. While children were not the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Work Department experienced first-hand the profound impact the pandemic had on children’s health and well-being.

“Unemployment, food insecurity, child safety and schooling were common concerns for many patients and their parents who entered the doors of the Hospital. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital values patient and family-centred care which includes care for the whole family from a holistic perspective.

“In response to the needs of the families, the Trust secured funding to enable the social workers to provide additional counselling services and material support such as the provision of food, hygiene, and home-schooling supplies to vulnerable families when children were discharged from the Hospital.” Read more on the Family Care Project here.

Redefining Excellence

The core to achieving our vision is upholding our values of Integrity, Accountability, Kindness, Dynamism, and Collaboration in every aspect of our work. The Trust has a sound financial record in administration and good governance. For the past 28 years, we have raised funds to address many pressing needs, but much has yet to be done. With the help of many donors, we continue to give hope and healing to our little ones who need it most.

The Trust raises funds for the upgrade and expansion of the Hospital’s buildings, the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment, and new medical treatment projects and funds the training of medical professionals across Africa – ensuring that the Hospital not only retains its world-class stature but is able to continue providing life-changing and life-saving care for children.

The Trust relies on donations to fund these needs. When you donate to the Trust, 100% of your donation goes towards funding projects that change children’s lives (and the lives of the people who love them). The operational costs of the Trust are funded from an endowment, so your generous contributions are never used to cover administration costs.

Donate to the Children’s Hospital Trust today! www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za

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