Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading African philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, will today Friday, March 22, announce the selected applicants for the 2019 cohort of the Foundation's flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.
However, the entrepreneurship Programme, which will take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, will mark the 5th round of the Foundation's flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.
Every year, the Tony Elumelu Foundation 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 way 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 currently has over 400,000 users, is providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to network receive training and forge business partnerships to scale their businesses beyond physical borders.
Since the Foundation was launched five years ago, its Entrepreneurship Programme 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 Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective from 1st April, 2019, succeeding Parminder Vir, OBE, who will continue to lend her experience and expertise as a member of the Foundation's Advisory Board.
Speaking as the incoming CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu emphasised the importance of partnership in reaching out to additional entrepreneurs beyond the Foundation's annual commitment of 1,000.
"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," he said.
The CEO said: "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," she said.
She further stated that their Programme has developed a robust mechanism for directing capital effectively and efficiently to those who can deploy it in local communities with the greatest impact.
She added that they were looking forward to working with partners to collaborate with them to scale the platform and process they have created, adding that empowering African entrepreneurs must be a shared responsibility to create economic prosperity for all.
Also speaking on the Entrepreneurship Programme, Osato Noah, West Africa Lead Accenture Development Partnerships, said they have worked with the Tony Elumelu Foundation since the inception of the Entrepreneurship Programme.
He said in 2015, the first round of the Programme saw them review 20,000 applications for the Foundation and this year they reviewed over 215,000 applications.
He noted that the sheer diversity and speed at which applications have scaled in the last four years have been incredible, thus commending the Tony Elumelu Foundation for their commitment to the transparency of the programme, and that Accenture is a proud partner in the delivery of this Pan-African project.
The Selection Announcement will also feature a Nigerian TEF Alumni Meet up, as well as an interactive dialogue with TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON.
In 2017 and 2018 twelve Sierra Leoneans including Al-Imam Mustapha Sanusi, who is engaged in agri-business farming; Fadja Djiou Barry, commercial and retail; Martin Kallie, energy/power generation; Mary Kadie Lokoh, agri-business farming; Mohamed Barrie, fashion; and Sahr Emmanuel Joseph, waste management, have benefited from the TEF programme respectively.