The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has concluded plans to empower not less than 2100 small and medium enterprises, SME operators, under the inaugural TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme.
The foundation unveiled the 2100 beneficiaries of the programme.
The TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme is a partnership between the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to empower 100,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years across Africa.
The initiative aims to empower young African entrepreneurs, create millions of jobs and revenue in Africa, and break the cycle of poverty on the continent.
According to the sponsors, the programme is targeted at small business owners in rural communities across the seven Sahel countries of Africa, including Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.
They added that successful beneficiaries participated in an intensive business training administered online in select communities of each country.
The selection process ended with a pitching competition that was powered by the United Bank for Africa Plc and coordinated by Deloitte.
In the word of the sponsors, the beneficiaries would be offered a seed fund between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on the business size.
Speaking on the development, UNDP Africa Regional Head, Ahunna Eziakonwa stated, “Youth employment and economic empowerment are critical for the socio-economic transformation of the Sahel. The sheer size of 81000 applicants for the programme underscores an urgent need to scale up.
“The regeneration of the Sahel is a key priority for us and we will continue to prioritise initiatives that break down barriers to attaining the full potential of the Sahel and bring closer to home, the hope for productive lives for Africa’s youth.”
Offering more explanations, CEO of TEF, Tony Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said: “Creating opportunities and giving young Africans hope for a brighter future will reduce poverty, extremism and illegal emigration in Africa.This is why at the TEF, we forge partnerships to enable us to reach more youths and scale our impact to convert the impending demographic doom to economic boom on the continent.”