by Oge Okonkwo
One of Africa’s most respected entrepreneurs and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, hosted some of the continent’s brightest young entrepreneurs, professionals, innovators and creatives at a reception for honourees of The Future Awards Africa. The cocktail reception held on Friday, 16 August 2013 at his Ikoyi, Lagos offices.
“I am glad to see these brilliant young minds from across Africa,” Mr. Elumelu said in his opening remarks. “Especially the entrepreneurs – because the number of entrepreneurs in a country is a good barometer for measuring its development. I have full confidence in the young men behind this project, and I wish you the very best.”
His remarks also shared his experiences as an entrepreneur, as well as three key lessons for business in the continent, including long-term strategy and a focus on legacy as opposed to control.
“If I may be so bold, I see important parallels, certainly not in scale, but clearly in direction; between our humble work and the expansive efforts of the this sprawling empire,” said Chude Jideonwo, Executive Director of The Future Project in explaining the significance of the support from the Tony Elumelu Foundation. “It’s a linking of arms between, on the one hand, an organisation deploying its impressive resources to re-engineer institutions from top-to-bottom, especially through policy and philanthropy; and, on the other hand, a much younger organisation, founded in 2004 by teenagers with a 20-year vision for young Africans, focused on changing society from the bottom-up.”
Moderated by Director of The Future Project Adebola Williams, guests included the General Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, Mrs. Awawu Olumide-Sojinrin; alongside members of the TFAA Independent Audit Committee including the Managing Director of Mnet, Biola Alabi and Special Assistant to the Ogun governor, Hafsat Abiola-Costello.
Honourees from Africa at the event included Kariuki Gathitu from Kenya, Foglabenchi Lily Haritu from Cameroun and Grace Ihejiamaizu from Nigeria who networked with some of Nigeria’s finest young professionals and entrepreneurs including Chika Nwobi, Tokini Peterside, Ojoma Ochai, Dumebi Agbakoba, Luqman Edu, Uche Nnaji, Bisola Edun, Yemi Adamolekun and Funke Bucknor-Obruthe.