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    Tony Elumelu Foundation Gives $5000 To 1000 African Entrepreneurs

    Every year, the father of Africapatilism, Tony Elumelu, gives out $5 million (9 billion naira) of his money to deserving 1,000 entrepreneurs from the selected applicants from the 53 African countries.

    He has been doing this for the past 10 years, so it means he has given out $50 million of his wealth to 10,000 African entrepreneurs in the past 10 years, and he plans to give out another $50 million in the next 10 years, making it $100 million in total.

    Tony is not yet a dollar billionaire like Aliko Dangote, but he is giving out that much because he is a beneficiary of luck, and he wants the next generation of entrepreneurs to have a head start in starting their lives and businesses.

    And this is Tony’s personal story.

    A year later, after earning his Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, he applied to join a new generation bank, Allstates Trust Bank.
    The bank’s one-page newspaper advertisement demanded a minimum 2:1 degree, but he applied regardless, submitting a cover letter and filling out an application with my 2:2-Economics degree.

    By a stroke of luck, his application was reviewed by the Chairman/CEO, a painstaking man who carefully read the cover letter and was drawn to the confidence in his words. “I know I may not have met the qualifying criteria for the advertised roles, but I am intelligent, driven, and ambitious, and I will make the bank proud. My 2:2 degree does not demonstrate the full extent of my intelligence and ability, and I know I can do so much more.” He read those words and took a chance on young Tony.

    Though “unqualified,” he decided to throw a lifeline and an opportunity at Tony Elumelu.

    A long series of interviews and even more tests followed his invitation to join the shortlist. At the end of a very rigorous process, he received good news: he had a place as an entry-level analyst. Even now, he wonders: What if the founder had not personally gone through the application? What if they rejected my application from the start? What if I never got the opportunity to work at Allstates Trust Bank?

    Someone took a chance on him, and decades later, he is paying it forward with institutionalising luck, so young people who have dreams but no capital can have a fair chance to compete and live their dreams.

    I have seen how impactful this $5,000 could be for a struggling young person.

    Before applying for Tony Elumelu’s $5,000 grant and subsequent selection, my friend, Christian Chukwu, who was a freelance photographer, had no idea where the next meal would come from.

    Tired of suffering and the uncertainty that comes with being a freelancer in this part of the world, he applied for Tony Elumelu’s $5,000 grant, and luckily for him, he was selected.

    With the $5,000 grant from Elumelu, he now has a flourishing modern photo studio in Port Harcourt, and this came with stability in his finances and income.

    He has gone on to marry and start his family, living on to his greatest potential, and this is just day 1 for him.

    This is why what Tony Elumelu is doing is important.

    Tony could have used this money to buy a private beach house in Chatteau or a newer private jet, or leave it behind for his kids to enjoy when he is no more, but he cares about the impact on the next generation, and for him, that is the only way to pay it forward: to give back to a society that has been good to him.

    $5,000 is a lot of money in today’s Nigeria; we are talking 9 million naira in seed capital for an entrepreneur to start his or her business and kick off what is going to be potential—a life well lived.

    And these entrepreneurs go ahead to create more jobs in the eco system and making it possible for thousands of families in Africa to feed and pay their bills.

    This is one reason why history will forever be kind to Tony Elumelu

    Tony’s Igbo name is Onyemachi (who knows tomorrow) and with $5,000 in the bank account, a beneficiary of Tony Elumelu’s largess is at least sure of tomorrow.

    Happy 61st birthday, Tony Onyemachi Elumelu.

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