Nigerian Billionaire Commits $100 Million to African startups

Posted in: Archive
December 7, 2014 11:46 AM UTC

Nigerian billionaire investor and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has committed $100 million to create 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next ten years, Forbes reports. “It is our opportunity to empower a generation,” said Elumelu.

Also read: The Bitcoin Dream Is Happening In Africa

Tony Elumelu has derived an estimated $1 billion fortune from banking, energy, investments and real estate. He said:

“The opportunity and challenge in Africa is scale – in our people, our resources and our horizons. In my business and philanthropic journeys, I have always sought ways to help inspire a generation across our continent. This programme brings together my own entrepreneurial experience and my fundamental belief that entrepreneurs – women and men across Africa – will lead Africa’s development and transform our futures.”

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) will be backed by a $100 million grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organization that supports entrepreneurship in Africa by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector. Interested entrepreneurs will be able to submit their applications to join the programme as from January 2015 through the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s website.

Fast Adoption of Next Generation Technologies

Africa (besides a few nations like South Africa) is usually considered as a backward, underdeveloped region. But the lack of legacy infrastructure in Africa often facilitates the adoption of next generation technologies. For example, the lack of affordable landlines and banking triggered a very fast adoption of cell phones. Dominic Frisby, the author of “Bitcoin: the Future of Money?” says:

“Cell phones dramatically lowered the barriers to entry for telecom services. Suddenly, the unbanked of the world were able to buy a cell phone and a prepaid card for a reasonable payment in cash, no questions asked. It’s not surprising then that cell phones swiftly penetrated the developing world: quite simply, it was the first time that large segments of the population could access telecom services.”

Thanks to the adoption of cell phones, local mobile e-payment services like M-Pesa created an economic boom in Kenya (compared to nearby countries). Now, high tech cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, already used by many Africans abroad for cheap remittances, may permit bypassing the inefficient legacy banking system in Africa and create modern alternatives.

The Dream Bitcoin Foundation, founded by Philip Agyei Asare, is a non-profit organization that aims to empower young entrepreneurs in Ghana through education on entrepreneurship and cryptocurrencies.

What do you think of the opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa? Comment below!

Images from Shutterstock.

Last modified: June 10, 2020 4:03 PM UTC

Show comments
Giulio Prisco @giulioprisco

Writer specialized in futurism, science, technology business.