What Tony Elumelu Said After Receiving The Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Entrepreneurship Award

December 6, 2017//-The Business council for International Understanding (BCIU), a non-for-profit U.S Business association dedicated to forging relationships and promoting dialogue between business and government communities across the globe, this week presented its prestigious Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Entrepreneurship Award to both Tony O. Elumelu and Bill Marriott, Chairman, Marriott International Inc.

The award was conferred on Elumelu in recognition of his outstanding work in promoting Entrepreneurship on the continent of Africa and across the globe.

Elumelu, himself a serial entrepreneur, through his Tony Elumelu Foundation, has funded over 3,000 African entrepreneurs to date with his U$D100 million commitment to 10,000 entrepreneurs over a period of 10 years.

These entrepreneurs are expected to create a million new jobs and over U$D10 billion in revenue as a result of the initiative of Elumelu’s Foundation.

At the award’s gala, former American President George W. Bush, acknowledged the efforts of the African entrepreneur saying: “I am impressed with Tony’s philanthropic initiatives which are powering job creation and entrepreneurship in a region(Africa), that is very dear to Laura and me.

To receive an award founded by President Eisenhower, has added meaning. Eisenhower provided example in leadership, which we can all learn from. Additionally, his belief in promoting international understanding is a vitally important responsibility”.

Speaking on the reason why Elumelu was selected as the recipient of this prestigious award, Peter Tichansky, the CEO of BCIU said: “Mr Elumelu’s bold approach and can-do mindset are exemplary characteristics of a visionary entrepreneur”.

“He embodies the idea that companies must take the lead in bringing business and society together. His advocacy is proving that businesses, acting as businesses and not charitable donors, are the most powerful force for addressing social challenges and economic development”.

Indeed this is the philosophy of Elumelu, founder of the concept of Africapitalism, which essentially states that Africa’s private sector must play a leading role in the development and growth of the continent as both governments and the private sector come together to make this happen.

Elumelu was presented with his award by Kip Forbes and Anne Eisenhower,(the granddaughter of President Eisenhower,).

Excerpts of Tony Elumelu’s speech

Thanks so much for honouring us with your esteemed presence

This is wonderful and symbolic for a variety of reasons

First as President Bush said, President Eisenhower is a man of many dimensions, most importantly his leadership and being honoured and recognised today as a recipient of President Eisenhower’s Global Entrepreneurship award is one that resonates with so many people in Africa.

We have a lot of enterprising and entrepreneurial brains on the African continent, what they need is purposeful leadership.

This award tonight further energises, encourages and motivates me to do more to support our enterprising Africans who seek opportunities, who need encouragement and hope, who are intelligent, hardworking, who want to succeed and help to transform Africa.

I hope that this recognition and award will further inspire other endowed Africans and friends of Africa who want to give and support Africa in the 21st century to do so in a manner that helps to economically empower our young ones, encourage our women, make sure that we work together for an inclusive prosperity, one that touches everyone almost evenly.

I want to dedicate this to my lovely wife, to our children, to the staff of UBA in 21 countries, over 20,000 of them, to the staff of Heirs Holdings, Transcorp and all the other companies in our group because they are the people who make it possible for me to continue to do what I do in supporting entrepreneurs in Africa.

Their hard work, dedication, commitment and support have made it possible for this to happen so I want to say thank you to all of them.

And finally, to BCIU, you have been amazing, on behalf of our entrepreneurs in Africa, over 3000 entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, I want to say thank you so much.

From the bottom of our hearts, I want to commit that we will continue to support more entrepreneurs on the continent – it’s a 10 year commitment to support 10,000 entrepreneurs – the first cycle is just starting now, we will finish it and make sure that working with you and other friends of Africa and endowed Africans, it should go beyond the 10,000 entrepreneurs to even more because we do have over 600 million people who are under the age of 30 in Africa and they want to be economically empowered.

Until we support these aspiring, hardworking young Africans, we should not sleep.

So, to BCIU, thank you so much but for me and you also, the work has just begun.

Thank you.

African Eye Report




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