TEF identifies 3 monsters affecting entrepreneurial development in Africa

Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings.

28 July 2015, Lagos – The Tony Elumelu Foundation says finance, infrastructure and inadequate resource centres are the major impediments affecting entrepreneurial development in Africa. The Africapitalism Institute of the foundation in a report of its survey on the business climate of the continent revealed disclosed this on Monday in Lagos.

The report was presented at the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya where President Barrack Obama gave the keynote address. The 86-page report, titled “Unleashing Africa’s Entrepreneurs” seeks to understand the distinctive constraints encountered by Africa’s entrepreneurs and proffering solutions to public sector leaders for action.

It said that the challenges inhibit the potential viability and competitiveness of entrepreneurial endeavours in the continent. According to the report, 87 per cent of respondents indicated access to seed capital as a constraint, three per cent had commercial bank loan, while 69 per cent used personal savings to finance their business.

Access to machinery, raw materials, office space was cited by 53 per cent of entrepreneurs while 63 per cent advocated for improved infrastructure to mitigate operational cost and boost their competitiveness. Eighty-two per cent of the respondents said that access to a business resource centre was vital to business, while 66 per cent revealed current participation in a business incubator programme.

Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings said that entrepreneurship was the key to unlocking the abundance of untapped human potential across Africa. “That is why I have endowed the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme with 100 million dollars in an effort to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs throughout Africa over the next 10 years,” he said.

The report’s insights were gained from surveys provided to the 20,000 emerging entrepreneurs from 54 African countries and territories in the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Network. The resulting set of data is the world’s largest and most diverse assessment of entrepreneurship from the perspective of emerging African entrepreneurs themselves.

Ms. Parminder Vir, CEO of the Foundation said, “We want to improve the enabling environment for all of Africa’s existing, emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs. “With the results of this study, we have an opportunity to educate policymakers across Africa about the importance of empowering entrepreneurs, and the critical role government plays in removing the barriers that inhibit their success.”

The Institute also held two focus groups with 100 entrepreneurs from different countries and sectors in a bid to brainstorm on possible solutions to the challenges. Some of the solutions proposed include the creation of a single location to register new businesses, a stronger patent regime to protect proprietary intellectual property including entrepreneurship in formal education.

Mr David Rice, the Institute’s Director said that the survey was the first in a series of studies to be conducted on African entrepreneurship. “The wealth of information we have allows us to gain unique insights on the needs of Africa’s entrepreneurs. “And we intend to leverage these insights to turn the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs into advocates for positive change, with particular emphasis on public policy and the role of government.”

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