Tony Elumelu, Heirs Holdings chairman, says the Tony Elumelu Foundation may announce 1000 grantees in 2019.
He made this known in an interview with CNBC Africa on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme annually grants 1000 entrepreneurs a seed capital of $5000, business development training and one-on-one mentorship.
“As you know the demographic structure of our population could be something to be both excited and frightened about. 60% of our population are under age 30….the question we need to ask ourselves is are we creating jobs fast enough to accommodate this rising population and get them gainfully employed? And the answer, unfortunately, is no.
“So what the TEF is doing is trying to ensure that we are able to support those who have ideas. Unfortunately, we are not able to support everyone, it’s a $100,000 commitment; we have supported over 4,000 and this year, we will be supporting another 1,000.
“We see successes, and we hear stories of how these young men and women from Africa are succeeding. And when I hear their stories I tell myself that indeed the future of Africa is in these young ones. I tell my friends that there is the need to partner to do more.
“Great things are happening and many are ready to support us, because, last year, for instance, we have over 150,000 applications from 54 African countries, we were, unfortunately, able to take just a thousand, because that is our commitment.
“So, I say to my friends when we come up here, can you team up with us, can you support these young Africans and the reception is becoming very interesting. So I am sure this year, from what I can see, we might be able to announce more than the thousand that the TEF is committed to.”
Elumelu said the goal of attending the forum was to interact with global leaders to attract capital.
“The issue is not about attracting private global capital, they are ready and willing to come to Africa. We need to work with our political leaders to ensure that we create the enabling environment that will attract and retain the capital we need in Africa.”