James Emejo in Abuja
The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) for its contribution to the growth of entrepreneurship through the provision of training, mentorship and funding to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country and across Africa.
This came as the foundation announced a total of $15.25 million for 3,050 successful applicants of its 5th successive edition of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme held over the weekend in Abuja.
Speaking as the guest of honour at the occasion, she said: “ Now, more than ever, amid a slow recovery of the world economy, the contribution of entrepreneurship through small and medium scale enterprises cannot be overemphasised particularly in emerging economies. “
Buhari said the foundation’s efforts will surely foster entrepreneurship development across the continent by providing the much-needed funds, training and mentorship to commercial enterprises that promote social and economic change.
She added that its initiative whereby successful beneficiaries are each provided with a $5,000 start-up funds- will further support growing African businesses through dynamic programmes that provide capital and human resources to budding entrepreneurs.
She expressed satisfaction that the foundation had been able to record progressive increase in female participation in its programme of the years with 41.6 per cent female representation in 2019.
She said: “This is proof of the fact that women have continued to prove their strength and competence in our societies in all spheres even in male dominated professions.”
Buhari, specifically encouraged Nigerian women from the northern part of the country to apply to the foundation’s empowerment programme.
She said: “Indeed, I am confident that these Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurs will grow to inspire deep confidence in both local and foreign markets and be a source of immense value not just to the Nigerian real sector, but to the entire African continent.”
Essentially, TEF, is the leading African philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs.
The 2019 successful entrepreneurs were drawn from all 54 African countries and selected to join the 5th cycle of its $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
According to one of the foundation’s development partners, over 216,000 applications were received, an increase from last year’s 151,000.
Nearly 90,000 were submitted by female entrepreneurs, an increase of 45 per cent, illustrating the foundation’s strategy to achieve greater gender balance.
The selected Entrepreneurs will each receive non-refundable $5,000 of seed capital, access to mentors, and a 12-week
business training programme, directly focused on the needs of African
On July 26 – 27 2019, they will gather at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African
entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.
TEF Founder, Elumelu said: “Every year, we face an almost impossible task – to select 1,000 entrepreneurs, from the hundreds of thousands that apply. Our
entrepreneurs are hungry to effect change. We know we are only scratching the surface, we see the depth of entrepreneurial talent, that all of us – government, business indeed African society, mus