Image Source: Heirs Holding Website
On Friday the 28th of October 2016, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) opened the 2nd TEF Entrepreneurship Forum – the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in Africa. The Forum celebrated the 1000 TEP Entrepreneurs selected from over 45,000 applications in 54 African countries.
The program had in attendance dignitaries from all works of life including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, CEO of Rose of Sharon Foundation Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija and President Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone.
The Event also had the presence of captains of industries, business consultants, financial experts and social entrepreneurs who went through a question and answer series with the entrepreneurs on varied subjects that focused on launching their companies, remaining in business and building a strong network with industry leaders through partnerships.
Audu Maikori, President of Chocolate City group told the audience that entrepreneurs need to understand that things may not go exactly as planned in business and that they must always respond positively when plans don’t work, because plans don’t always work.
‘Neku Atawodi the General Manager of MEST Lagos Incubator advised that entrepreneurs shouldn’t allow anything to stop them from moving forward in their bid for business expansion. Dr. Awele Elumelu, wife of the founder of TEF, stressed the importance of economic patriotism when she told the gathering that: “We are saving lives and strengthening our national economy by keeping hard-earned dollars at home.”
Obinna Ekezie, CEO of Wakanowdotcom, a leading online travel company explained the dynamics of building a good team and the benefits that come with it. He further stressed that entrepreneurs don’t need to have all the skills because they only need to find the people who have the skills they desire and use it as a leverage against their perceived weakness. Other facilitators spoke about cutting down operating costs, improving product delivery through outsourcing, and the importance of branding.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo spoke about the importance of SMEs to the economy and praised Governor Ikpeazu for encouraging SMES in Abia state. He further went on to place an order for shoes made in Aba through the state governor. Other speakers like Folorunsho Alakija advised that the entrepreneurs imbibe the virtue of perseverance, she cited an instance of a court engagement that took 15 years to resolve.
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