French President Emmanuel Macron has exhorted young African entrepreneurs to be risk takers.
According to him, “You can’t succeed without taking risk”. Macron spoke at a vibrant, no-holds barred interactive session, in front of nearly 2,000 alumni of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, who sought advice from the youthful President on how to grow their businesses, reach European markets amidst rising nationalism and emerging trade wars and the secrets of his political success. Macron’s experience as an outsider, who transformed French politics and spoke directly to and not at the audience, electrified the room.
Going by reports, the forum which was moderated by the TEF Founder and Heirs Holdings and UBA Chairman Tony O. Elumelu, CON afforded the visiting French President the opportunity to hear the voices and ambitions of a new generation of African businesswomen and men, who are changing the narrative and historic perceptions of Africa.
Mr Macron further advised the young entrepreneurs never stop at a first failure but rather urged them to always learn from it. “To young African entrepreneurs: never listen to people who are telling you to wait,” Macron said. “If you believe in your projects: just do it. Our role is to help the new generation to seize opportunities and rise to the challenge. This is what underpins a new, balanced relationship.”
Speaking on the private sector, Macron said: “The only way for Africa to succeed is to have a strong private sector” capable of creating jobs and opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth.
For his part, Tony Elumelu acknowledged the importance of the occasion for African entrepreneurship. Hear him; “The French President recognises the critical importance of African entrepreneurs to sustainable economic development on the continent – he knows the African narrative is changing and will change. His voice is refreshing and welcome” he said. “We want France and the rest of the world to realise that Africa is a continent of opportunities.”
It should be recalled that in 2015, the TEF Founder launched the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme now known as TEF Entrepreneurship Programme which is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship. Since the launch of the foundation’s $100 million vision to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over 4,500 young African entrepreneurs have benefited from it.