Be patient for success, Nigeria tycoon urges local businesses


President Uhuru Kenyatta with Tony Elumelu, chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA) and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu has asked Kenyan entrepreneurs to practise patience in their entrepreneurial journey to reap its full benefits.

Mr Elumelu spoke during an interactive session at the University of Nairobi, where he encouraged students to focus on the long-term vision as opposed to dwelling on short-term challenges.

“Think big, but beyond that, act on the ideas and think long-term. The journey would not be smooth but perseverance is key,” said Mr Elumelu who is United Bank of Africa (UBA) chairman.

The key message during the session was that Africans should embrace technology and be faithful in transforming the continent through businesses that help end unemployment.

Mr Elumelu founded the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in 2010 to spur African economic growth through empowering entrepreneurship.

He committed a $100 million (Sh10 billion) to sponsor 10,000 African entrepreneurs over 10 years.

READ: Tony Elumelu Foundation ranks 74 Kenyans top in innovation

This year, 74 Kenyan entrepreneurs were selected in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. They are among 1,000 individuals selected from 151,000 Africans in 114 countries worldwide.

Kenya ranked third in the number of entrepreneurs selected for the fourth edition of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, after Nigeria and Uganda.

This reflects last year’s ranking where a total of 55 Kenyan entrepreneurs made it to the list.

Business ideas on agriculture topped other sectors in applications at 30.3  per cent followed by fashion at 12.7 per cent and commercial/retail at 8.1 per cent.

This indicates the industries of interest for African start-ups.