Nume Ekeghe

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) will announce selected applicants for the 2019 cohort of the Foundation’s entrepreneurship programme on Friday.

The event, which marks the fifth round of the Foundation’s eentrepreneurship programme would take place in Abuja.

Every year, the TEF opens its application portal to African entrepreneurs, with businesses of less than three years old.

Through its $100million entrepreneurship programme, the Foundation empowers 1,000 entrepreneurs annually, who receive $5,000 in non-refundable seed capital, access to mentors, a 12-week training programme and opportunities to promote their businesses to a global audience.

All applicants receive access to TEFConnect, Africa’s digital entrepreneurial hub, which provides access to networks, training, further capital sources and business opportunities.

As a means of cascading its proven entrepreneurial tool kit to the huge numbers of applicants, the Foundation launched in 2018, TEFConnect, the digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs.

The platform, which has currently over 400,000 users, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to network, receive training and forge business partnerships to scale their businesses beyond physical borders.

In the five years since the Foundation launched the programme, it has empowered 4,000 African entrepreneurs directly and an additional 470 entrepreneurs supported by the Foundation’s partners.

The Foundation recently appointed Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu as CEO effective from April 1.

Ugochukwu succeeds Parminder Vir, OBE, who will continue to lend her experience and expertise as a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.

A statement from TEF quoted Ugochukwu to have emphasised the importance of partnership in reaching additional entrepreneurs beyond the Foundation’s annual commitment of 1,000 entrepreneurs.

“Each year we see a significant uplift in applicants. Our execution partner, Accenture Development Partnerships, are currently reviewing and finalising the applications.

“Over 215,000 African entrepreneurs applied from across 54 African countries, up from 151,000 applications last year, with an increase in female representation from 62,000 in 2018 to 90,000 in 2019.

“These rising figures demonstrate the burning desire of the African entrepreneur to develop our continent, and we must urgently convert this passion into viable businesses to develop our continent.