Tony Elumelu Foundation gets new CEO


By Innocent Eteng

Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a leading philanthropic organization giving financial and mentorship support to African entrepreneurs, has got a new chief executive officer (CEO).

The new CEO is Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, whose new role starts on April 1, 2019.

Ugochukwu is taking over from Parminder Vir, OBE who has been elevated to a board member status.

The decision was arrived at after board members met on December 12, 2018 in Lagos.

Until her new appointment, Ugochukwu has worked as Director of Partnerships at the TEF since November 2017.

In her new role, she is expected to paddle the affairs of TEF and build on existing impact.

The founder of the foundation, Tony Elumelu, who is also the CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA) commended the outgoing CEO while expressing confidence that Ugochukwu, as the “perfect candidate”, would do a great job.

“As Director of Partnerships, Ifeyinwa demonstrated strong leadership and strategic thinking in delivering the Foundation’s mission to transform Africa, securing major partnerships that scale the impact of the Foundation beyond its targeted 10,000 entrepreneurs.  She is the perfect candidate to build on Parminder’s immense contribution.

“On behalf of the Board, I also commend Parminder, fondly known as the mother of African entrepreneurs, for her notable achievements, significant sacrifice and commitment to building and empowering the next generation of African business leaders. I warmly welcome her to the Board,” he said.

As a philanthropy-based organization, TEF targets to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs with $100,000 stretched over a number of years. It popularises “Africapitalism” as a concept that supposes that Africa’s economic development is dependent on entrepreneurship driven by young Africans who deserve support and enabling environment for business.

Every January 1, the foundation opens its portal for African entrepreneurs to apply with their ideas or existing business for a $5000 seed funding. Applications deadline is usually March 1, after which they are reviewed and a list of successful candidates published.

Started in 2010, the foundation has so far funded 4,460 entrepreneurs with $25 million. In 2018, the TEF received 151, 692 applications out of which over a thousand ideas and businesses were chosen for funding.