’Who are you to talk about business if you haven’t failed before, Who are you to talk about profit if you haven’t made one before?’’
Summy Smart Francis, the President and Founder of Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs delivered these powerful lines with so much passion and panache which provoked a positive energy in a room filled with entrepreneurs, this was my first encounter with him and It was a great privilege to have been part of a seminar in mid 2019 where he showcased a wealth of knowledge and the depth of wisdom that can resuscitate a dying dream.
As few as his poetic words were on this hopeful day, it took me back to the great African American poet Langston Hughes in his world acclaimed poem ‘’Harlem’’ where he asked these questions:
‘’What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?’’
It would suffice to say, what Langston Hughes is to African-American literature is Summy Smart Francis to African Entrepreneurship. His entrepreneurship drive and spirit are unrivalled.
Summy Smart Francis started his business venture at the age of 14, where he worked in his father’s hotel in Lagos, Nigeria before he grew to managing one of the branches of Mullard Hotel handed down to him at the age of 17.
Just like the rest of the budding African Young Entrepreneurs, he faced a lot of startup challenges and obstacles ranging from limited capital, network and experiences which he never shied away from sharing. These experiences birthed the vision called Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs which launched in 2012 with over 13 million users; and a mainstay in 20 countries including United States and Great Britain which is indisputably the world’s largest entrepreneurship network.
Summy Smart Francis is a voice of inspiration for this generation, a persistent and determined beacon of hope who shines his light through dedication to improving the lives of Nigerian youths and helping to alleviate their biggest malaise; unemployment by supporting the budding entrepreneurs through funding, training, equipment and mentorship programs through the auspices of Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs Empowerment Nigeria ((AYEEN) where he has supported thousands of small businesses and still counting.
The organization hold conferences and fund startups and business ideas through several innovative platforms such as the A.Y.E Reality TV Show where he sits as the Executive Director viewed by over 36 million people across Africa and the A.Y.E Annual Convention with the record of hosting the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in Africa with over 10,000 attendees from different part of the Continent as recorded in December 14, 2019. He has founded other tremendously successful global platforms like the first entrepreneurs co-operative in the world (ENTREPRENEURS TRUST FUND).
He has also created a growing and thriving platform for undergraduates through The Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs Student’s Association (AYESA) which presents students with the opportunity to gain access to early introduction to entrepreneurship, the M1ME program which is a scholarship-based masterclass in entrepreneurship and the Economic Development Team which works with the federal and state governments geared with commitment to improving the growth of the continent. They assist to push investment opportunities for global entrepreneurs and investors.
Reaching your destination through pushing boundaries as an entrepreneur makes the journey worthwhile. For Summy Smart Francis who have crossed many hurdles in life and invested not only his time and energy through depositing and installing a piece of himself in everyone, this pulling force is responsible for the Summy Smart Francis Annual scholarship program committed to easing access to quality education for the less privileged and rewarding academic excellence.
It is not a surprise for the world to take notice of a man who is living for humanity through a dint of selflessness and sacrifice considering posterity; For these many reasons, it makes the befitting monumental achievement of being awarded the Honorary Doctor of Entrepreneurship by Triune Biblical University, New York, USA; deserving and worthwhile as it turned out to be an historic moment on the grandest of stage for a Nigerian just like when Chioma Ajunwa became the first Nigerian Olympics gold medalist in long jump in Atlanta 96 Olympics.
His passion and quest for a better Africa keeps him on the move in search of new opportunities to invest in potentials and make the world a better place for everyone as He keeps pushing boundaries and breaking limits. That’s Summy Smart Francis, a serial and social entrepreneur, investor, humanitarian, leader and philanthropist. He lives with the mantra…
“I am SUMMY SMART FRANCIS and I am nothing without GOD”
Written by : Oluwatomiwo Akinyemi