By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
TEF new Chief Executive Officer, Somachi Chris-Asoluka
The Board of Trustees of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF),has announced the appointment of Somachi Chris-Asoluka as Chief Executive Officer, following the retirement of current CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu. The appointment however, takes effect from March 01, 2023.
Somachi, joined the Foundation in 2014, and has served as the Foundation’s Head of Research, Head of Policy and External Relations, and most recently as the Director of Partnerships and Communications.
In her new role as CEO, Somachi will leverage her expertise, experience and network to provide strategic leadership in consolidating and deepening the Foundation’s work of transforming Africa through entrepreneurship.
Speaking on the appointment, founder of the Foundation Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu, CFR stated that the appointment was important for the Foundation and Africa, and that their work is ever more important, and their platform is demonstrating their ability to truly catalyse change.
He said they were increasingly working with partners to magnify their impact and Somachi’s experience in partnership development will be particularly relevant, disclosing that Somachi, as Director of Partnerships and Communications, has demonstrated strong leadership, commitment, and strategic thinking, in delivering the Foundation’s mission to transform Africa and she is the perfect candidate to build on Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu’s impactful contribution.
“On behalf of the Board, I also thank Ifeyinwa, for her considerable achievements, significant sacrifice and commitment to building and empowering the next generation of African business leaders. The Foundation, since inception, has been led by a succession of dynamic and diverse CEOs, who have each brought passion, commitment, and innovation. As the tenure of Ifeyinwa draws to a close, I look back on the last five years and pay tribute to the impact she has made, first as Director of Partnerships, and later as the Chief Executive Officer,” she said.
The retired CEO Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, said over the last five years, the Foundation has significantly expanded its mission to empower African Entrepreneurs across all 54 African Countries, adding that the Foundation has grown its partnership capability, opening its platform and process to third parties, who share in their commitment to growing the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, and transforming Africa by empowering entrepreneurs and as CEO, it has been a profound joy to lead the dynamic team to empower the next generation of young people whose ideas are transforming Africa.
Accepting the appointment, Somachi Chris-Asoluka said she was honoured to be appointed to lead the Foundation, particularly at a time when they will be launching a new Coalition for African Entrepreneurship, stating that the Coalition will bring together global and African partners to significantly increase the impact created by TEF’s unique platform for identifying, mentoring, training and funding young African entrepreneurs.
She said she was also honoured to build on the outgoing CEO Ifeyinwa’s legacy and launch the Tony Elumelu Foundation into its next phase of impact.
TEF is a leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries. Since the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015, the Foundation has trained over 1.5 million young Africans on its digital hub, TEFConnect, and disbursed nearly USD$100 million in direct funding to 18,000 African women and men, who have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. The Foundation’s mission is rooted in Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.
The Foundation’s ability to fund, train, mentor, and network young African entrepreneurs, has created a unique platform for catalysing growth across the African continent. The robust ability of the Foundation to reach entrepreneurs across geographies and sectors, has enabled it to conduct innovative partnerships with the European Union, United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States Government via the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), The French Development Agency (AFD), The German Development Finance Institution (DEG), The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), The African Development Bank (AfDB), and Google, with bespoke programmes including targeting female empowerment and growth in fragile states.