Entrepreneur Exclusive...... Tony Elumelu Joins Global Leaders ...Shares His Candid Thoughts & Entrepreneurial Tips For Future Champions ( Part 2)
"It is better to be late than never; but do not be too late..start acting today ,for tomorrow may be too late ,for the sooner you reach the top the better for you ,for the one who reaches the top first, gets the juiciest reward's" - Words of Hope by PST Enoch Adeboye in his book ,: 10 leadership virtues by best selling Word smith ; Mike Cerutti Osagie
Shortly after our part 1 report where we wrote on how one of Africa's topnotch Philanthropist, serial Investor and chairman, UBA Plc, Dr. Tony Elumelu teamed up with some of the world’s most successive entrepreneurs invited by Thought Economics, a journal of intellectual capital,which is read in over 120 countries to share his thoughts on entrepreneurship; many have been calling and sending us email to express gratitude how the piece impacted their lives
Of particular emphasis was the manner Elumelu described entrepreneurs and greatness
regardless of their chosen profession, have shared characteristics: discipline, zeal, competitiveness. They are driven to succeed, and often this requires a brazenness or boldness that most will identify as risk-taking behaviour, but is
often calculated. Great entrepreneurs do things differently.
"They exhibit traits that set them apart from the general population and, though not all were born leaders, I believe their achievements make them leaders among their peers"
Q :What are the sources of entrepreneurial ideas?
A:I run my businesses
according to the principles of Africapitalism, which calls for businesses to commit to development through investing in long-term ventures that increase
economic prosperity as well as social wealth.
This means that a successful business is one that creates value for its stakeholders but also makes a long-term, sustainable contribution to the communities that it supports and that support it.
A: Being wealthy as an
entrepreneur is both a blessing and a responsibility. Not everyone who puts in years and years of hard work, or burns the candle at both ends while others were asleep, will find wealth or success—and not everyone who does that seeks wealth. This is why I view the ability to create wealth as a blessing, but it also means that the wealthy one has responsibility to share: share experience, share knowledge, and indeed, share
the wealth, but in a sustainable and coordinated manner such that one can create meaningful transformation that lasts for generations.
What is social entrepreneurship?
I have been able to
use my skills and training as an entrepreneur to the benefit of others around me in the practice of philanthropy. The Tony Elumelu Foundation practices
catalytic philanthropy, which means that our charitable actions are designed, much like my businesses, to invest for long-term impact. Practicing catalytic philanthropy, which we
pioneered in Africa, has led to the creation of our flagship programme, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, through which we committed $100 million in grants to 10,000 entrepreneurs around Africa for the next ten years.
These grants will build businesses, create jobs, increase employment around the
continent and generate over $10 billion in revenues over the next decade. We have already completed the first cycle,
selecting 1000 people from 51 countries around Africa with enterprises in agriculture, education, ICT, healthcare, construction and several other key sectors. This is real impact, and it is the driving force behind my philanthropic pursuits.
How does entrepreneurship manifest in the arts?
On the surface, I suppose there are certain tools and technology at the disposal of industrialized countries that are lacking in developing nations like Africa.
However, the core of being an entrepreneur is the same regardless of culture:
entrepreneurs represent a class of people who overcome a series of psychological, financial and sometimes even physical barriers to implement an idea and turn a profit, while solving an economic or social problem. I don’t find that attitude to be culture-specific.
Rather than view this from a cultural perspective, I prefer to consider the individual and his
environmental circumstances. The individual who has big dreams and is tenacious, resilient, and unrelenting, with the ability to translate ideas into action often succeeds, irrespective of where he comes from. Similarly, an
individual in an environment where the entrepreneurial ecosystem is well
developed, i.e. where there is power, good roads, security, etc., is also more likely to succeed than one who is expected to support himself in nearly every respect.
What is the role of government and policy in entrepreneurship?
It should be every
government’s role to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. Entrepreneurs, through their innovation and hard work, create the opportunities for employment and economic growth that serves nations in numerous quantifiable and qualitative ways. When government policies support the growth of the private sector, they start a ripple effect that will ultimately resolve basic societal challenges, from unemployment to a lack of social amenities, which can be provided from the tax revenues gained from robust companies.
What would be your message to future entrepreneurs?
I think it is paramount for future entrepreneurs to build sustainable companies that will create value for their stakeholders over the long-term. It is also important, however, for these companies to have a social impact.
My investment firm, Heirs
Holdings, makes long-term investments in key sectors—financial services, energy, real estate and hospitality, healthcare—through which each of our companies add to Africa’s economic prosperity and social wealth. This isn’t the easiest path to success, to be sure, but it is responsible and it is my firm belief that this is the foundation upon which great legacies are built"
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