Tony Elumelu, Today Nigerian

New participants coming on board the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme later this year will join over 9,000 current beneficiaries, from 54 African countries, for business training, mentoring, a non-refundable $5,000 of seed capital and global networking opportunities.

Six years on, the entrepreneurship development programme for the whole of Africa has not only attracted more partners but also lived with the times to bolster its sustainability and impact.

Only last week, the foundation disbursed the first tranche of a $5m partnership commitment from African Development Bank.

The foundation had congratulated the bank and its president, Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship with the disbursement of $2.5 million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship programme.

The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursement from the United Nations Development Programme to 2,648 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly, to accelerate economic empowerment generated by the Foundation.

In 2019, the foundation increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiaries of its flagship entrepreneurship programme increasing from its annual commitment of 1,000, to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.

Other partners of the foundation in the drive to train African youths for their contribution to the development of a continent, which slow growth in the face of its enormous resources have made it a paradox of some sorts are the ICRC, the US consulate, Anambra state government and Indorama.

Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the foundation, said of the enhanced programme: “We are excited to announce that the Tony Elumelu Foundation has made strategic improvements to the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Cycle.

“These improvements will provide more value across the continent and achieve our mandate to transform the African continent through entrepreneurship.

“These enhancements, which took effect from January 1, 2020—the launch of the 6th cycle of the programme—will achieve the Foundation’s mandate to transform the African continent through entrepreneurship.”

Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme News
Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme

Most prominent among the enhancements are the new dates in the programme cycle, its emphasis on providing thousands of entrepreneurs with business training, and its focus on leveraging technology to optimise the application and selection process as well as personalise the journey of each applicant in the programme tailored to their knowledge and business stage.

Also, the programme cycle has been updated to place more emphasis on getting more entrepreneurs through the business training.

Hence, she said, the announcement of the finalists, who will ultimately be inducted into the TEF Alumni network, will no longer be on March 22 but will be made at the TEF Forum – the largest entrepreneurship conference in Africa.

Maximising the value derived from the programme, applicants will now receive instant feedback on their progress to the next stage of the programme, following their applications.

Shortlisted applicants will receive business training tailored to their business stage and for those who move to the next stage mentorship; and finally the top performing entrepreneurs from each country will proceed to the business pitching competition, which will determine the finalists to receive seed capital and an induction into the foundation’s fast-growing alumni network across 54 African countries.

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is the $100 million commitment by investor and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, through his investment company, Heirs Holdings.

Established in 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is Africa’s private-sector-led philanthropy championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the African continent.

According to Elumelu: “What we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation is to create a platform for African youths, give them the opportunity to interact with our leaders and give them seed capital to help them prove their ideas so that our young ones don’t go to the grave with their ideas. We want to see them succeed and I am happy that everyone is on board about prioritising them, about supporting them, about providing extra capacity to enable them to become our true future leaders.

“To us, this is the changing narrative, and this is the changing mindset we would like international development institutions should have; that the way to intervene and support Africa.”

Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme
Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme