Hardly would one mention innovations and successes in the economy such as Small and Medium Enterprises, (SMEs), general insurance, banking sector, offering policies covering vehicles, homes, SMEs, business risks, and other properties without traces of Tony Elumelu.
Tony Elumelu has topped the charts as one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists, leaving footprints is key sectors of Nigeria’s economy and setting a record in the private sector.
As founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings, he is gradually making Nigeria an insurance hub for individuals and businesses, as his Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) provides general insurance, offering policies covering vehicles, homes, SMEs, business risks, and other properties.
Heirs Life Assurance (HLA) offers insurance-backed savings plans and life insurance security for individuals, families, children’s education, debtors, creditors, entrepreneurs, and employees. All plans offer customers comprehensive protection, creating financial certainty for loved ones, cherished assets, and properties.
Both companies leverage the business track record of Heirs Holdings, the pan-African investment group, chaired by leading investor and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu. Heirs Holdings’ portfolio includes companies transforming financial services, power, oil and gas, real estate, hospitality, healthcare, and technology.
It is therefore, in a bid to celebrate his philanthropic activities and development in private sector that the world stood still for Elumelu at his 60th birthday the other day.
Every March 22 is a great day in the life of Tony Elumelu, the Group Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc.
It is a day he was born into the world. There are many people who do not want the day of their birth remembered, for one reason or the other. Some others remember their birthdays with regrets and disappointment.
But Elumelu is one man that remembers his birthday with joy and gratitude to the Almighty God. Even if he, for any reason feels reluctant to mark his day of birth, there are thousands of people and organisations across the globe that will always celebrate him on that day.
His 60th birthday recently was however, very unique; a red-letter day indeed.
Incidentally, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has, since inception, graduated 60 individuals from across Africa. Hence, the special symposium hosted in Elumelu’s honour at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre in UBA House was tagged, ‘60 for 60.’
The occasion was attended by family members, close friends, colleagues, some A-list celebrities, among others.
Elumelu, through his philanthropic activities, has positively impacted the lives of many people. He plays in many sectors of the nation’s economy and it has been a success story all the way.
For instance, in a bid to increase insurance penetration in Nigeria, Heirs Holdings (HH) in 2020 announced the Group’s transformative insurance industry, with the launch of Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance (HLA).
Heirs Holdings was birthed to bring a dynamic, digitally-driven offering to the general and life insurance sectors, providing clients with a real choice of products, pricing, channel, and claims handling.
Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance (HLA) leverage the business track record of Heirs Holdings, the pan-African investment group, chaired by leading investor and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu. Heirs Holdings’ portfolio includes companies transforming financial services, power, oil and gas, real estate, hospitality, healthcare, and technology.
While speaking during the launch of Heirs Insurance Limited (HIL) and Heirs Life Assurance (HLA), Elumelu disclosed that the journey that started seven years ago has finally come into reality.
Elumelu explained that it was good when policy makers, regulators and public sector leaders began to understand that for “Nigeria to create employment, create jobs that our people need and eradicate poverty.”
In November 2021, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) which empowers African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries, announced that it was giving out $5,000 seed capital each to 3369 female entrepreneurs.
That implied that the Foundation was giving out a total sum of $16.8m non-refundable grant to young African female entrepreneurs as part of the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.
The young women, numbering 3,369, comprised over 68 percent of the total candidates selected that year.
Tony Elumelu disclosed this via his instagram page @tonyoelumelu where he hailed Awele Vivien Elumelu, Trustee of the Tony Elumelu Foundation for the initiative and for silently supporting female entrepreneurs in Africa.
“This year alone, the Tony Elumelu Foundation disbursement is $24.75m to 5,000 African SMEs for #TEF2021 Programme,” he added.
Since inception, The Tony Elumelu Foundation has been deliberate in its support for female entrepreneurs. TEF Alumni have gone on to directly create an additional 35,000 jobs for women, which supports the vision of creating an ecosystem where everyone, regardless of their gender benefits from equal opportunity to scale and thrive.
In June 2021, the Foundation announced a $3million grant from Google.org to complement the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. During this period, 500 additional rural-based aspiring women entrepreneurs received seed capital of $5,000.
These 500 aspiring African women entrepreneurs came from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and select Francophone countries. The objective was to increase economic inclusion, improve economies and further empower these rural-based women to lift them from poverty, strengthen their livelihoods and incomes, while creating more decent jobs in the African economy.
Speaking on the empowerment, the CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said: “As Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs, this grant support will provide financial and technical support for additional women-owned businesses and marginalised groups in the informal sector through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
“There is no better time to invest in women’s economic participation on the continent than now. Through this support, women will drive growth for local economies and enable better living conditions for their communities. We are delighted to disburse the Google.org grant to scale our ongoing work to empower young African entrepreneurs as we believe this will be instrumental in building the much-needed businesses and resilient economies.”
The announcement directly correlated with the Foundation’s mission to catalyse economic growth, drive poverty eradication, and ensure job creation in Africa.
Selection prioritised informal businesses, further equipping them with digital skills through TEFConnect, its proprietary digital platform supporting millions of African entrepreneurs with access to free resources for professional development, knowledge-sharing opportunities and quality market linkages.
Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, had at the time echoed a dedication to building a world where all women can thrive. Looking at data collected by the World Bank across 10 African countries, he revealed that male-owned enterprises have six times more capital than female-owned enterprises.
He said: “The huge capital gap is not stopping the rise of female entrepreneurs, but it slows them down and makes their journeys that much more challenging. We hope that the support to The Tony Elumelu Foundation will help accelerate the growth of women tech-makers and entrepreneurs in Africa.”
TEF’s Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) programme is an action jointly supported by the European Union (EU), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), and the German Development agency GIZ (E4D programme).
It is focused on empowering underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa comprising women, youth, and the informal sector.
He has paid his dues
For many, Elumelu has indeed, paid his dues as a leading businessman, with his interest spanning the power, oil, hospitality, and banking sectors of the nation’s Today, he is one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists.
He is the founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings, his family-owned investment company committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy including financial services, hospitality, power, energy, technology, and healthcare.
He is the Chairman of the pan-African financial services group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which operates in 20 countries in Africa, the United Kingdom France, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit-taking presence in the United States. UBA provides corporate, commercial, SME, and consumer banking services to more than 21 million customers globally.
He also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp Plc whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the largest generators of electricity in Nigeria, and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand. He is the Founder and Chairman of Trans-Niger Oil & Gas Limited (TNOG), an upstream oil and gas company that owns and operates Nigeria’s OML17, (with 2P reserves of 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent) and is committed to creating resource-based added value on the African continent.
In 2010, he created The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the pan-African philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication, and ensuring job creation across all 54 African countries.
Reports have it that TEF has funded about 10,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million Africans as part of its ten-year, US$100m commitment through its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.
The Foundation is self-funded and is increasingly sharing its unique ability to identify, train, mentor, and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa, with institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other global development agencies.
The Foundation is breaking boundaries with Africapitalism. This business concept positions the private sector, more importantly, entrepreneurship, innovation, and business enterprise, as the key economic driver of growth and job creation across Africa, while also promoting sustainable development.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is the leading champion of Africapitalism in Africa, and across the world, with significant contributions to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the continent.
Telling his success story, Elumelu said: “I owed my accelerated career and successes to two things: hard work and luck.”
According to him, “My successes – and yes failures – have always driven me to create opportunities for young people. I believe that our young have the talent and the zeal to transform our world.”
Reports also have it that Elumelu was among the leading entrepreneurs in the private sector that mobilised N100 billion to support the fight against insecurity in the country.
The astute entrepreneur has always looked to new areas of positively impacting the lives of mankind. For instance, last year, Africa No Filter, a donor organisation working collaboratively to transform stereotypical narratives of Africa, launched the Tony Elumelu Storytellers Fund.
Named after Elumelu, the Fund aims to award grants to emerging artists and storytellers, whose work shines a light on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Africa. The $30,000 fund is sponsored by Heirs Insurance and Heirs Life Assurance, the insurance subsidiaries of the pan-African investment group, Heirs Holdings.
The Tony Elumelu Storytellers Fund is a standalone initiative and an extension of his commitment to catalysing a redefined African success story, powered by Africa’s youth and their creative ideas.
The man Elumelu
Elumelu is the founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings, his family-owned investment company committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy, including financial services, hospitality, power, energy, technology and healthcare.
He is the chairman of pan-African financial services group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which operates in 20 countries across Africa, the United Kingdom, France, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit taking presence in the United States.
UBA provides corporate, commercial, SME and consumer banking services to more than 21 million customers globally. He also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading producers of electricity in Nigeria and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand.
He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Oil & Gas, an upstream oil and gas company, whose assets include Nigerian oil block OML17 with a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional one billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential. Heirs Oil & Gas is committed to creating resource based added value on the African continent.
Elumelu is the most prominent champion of entrepreneurship in Africa. In 2010, he created The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the pan-African philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and driving job creation across all 54 African countries.
As already stated, the Foundation has over funded well over 10,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million Africans, as part of a ten year, US$100m commitment, implemented through its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.
Self-funded, the Foundation is increasingly sharing its unique ability to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa, with institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other global development agencies. His businesses and Foundation are inspired by Tony’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.
The entrepreneur sits on a number of public and social sector boards, including the Global Advisory Council of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Centre for Public Leadership, World Economic Forum Community of Chairmen and the Global Leadership Council of UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited. In 2020, in recognition of his business leadership and economic empowerment of young African entrepreneurs, he was named in the Time100 Most Influential People in the World, and recognised with Belgium’s oldest and highest royal order.