The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has announced that 3,050 African entrepreneurs drawn from 54 countries have been selected to join the fifth cycle of its $100million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
This was revealed on Friday at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, following a presentation of the selection process by Accenture Development Partners.
The selected entrepreneurs each received non- refundable $5,000 of seed capital (which amounts to $15.25 million in total), access to mentors, and a 12-week business training programme, directly focused on the needs of African entrepreneurs.
This year, 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 percent, illustrating the Foundation’s strategy to achieve greater gender balance.
On July 26 and 27, the selected entrepreneurs will gather at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent.
Elumelu, founder and chairman of Heirs Holdings, said every year, the foundation faced 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 – must harness to transform our economies and livelihoods. We must rally together to empower them and accelerate the change we want on the continent.”
Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari commended the programme’s impact on the continent, charging the selected entrepreneurs to contribute to the advancement of the African continent.
“Indeed, I am confident that these Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs will inspire deep confidence and be of immense value not just to Nigeria but to the entire continent,” she said.
Speaking on the announcement, the incoming CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, said the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme “has successfully empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in its first five years of the 10-year programme.
“Marking the fifth anniversary of the 10-year programme, this year’s selection includes 2,050 entrepreneurs, supported by the Foundation’s partners in addition to the Foundation’s annual commitment of 1,000, bringing the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation to date to 7,520.”
The Foundation’s growing list of partners includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal Republic of Benin (Seme City), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, the Government of Botswana and the African Development Bank (AfDB).