Rwanda: U.S.$100 Million Entrepreneurship Fund Open to Rwandan Start-Ups

The Tony Elumelu Foundation opened applications for the seventh edition of its $100 million entrepreneurship programme last week.

According to the foundation, this year's intervention will among others prioritise the economic recovery of young African entrepreneurs following the severe impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"To address the unique challenges arising from the pandemic, lift millions out of poverty and create sustainable employment across the continent, the Foundation's Entrepreneurship Programme will empower over 3,500 young African entrepreneurs," a statement from the foundation reads in part.

Rwandans with innovative ideas and businesses can apply for the programme.

Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme is arguably Africa's leading entrepreneurship programme that seeks to empower African entrepreneurs. It is a brainchild of Tony Elumelu, Nigeria's billionaire and Chairman of United Bank for Africa.

The programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs with an aim of generating at least a million new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa.

Each year, the Foundation selects about 1,000 entrepreneurs from different parts of Africa to under-go a 12-week intensive online training.

Other benefits include a non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities.

Now its 7th year, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered over 9,000 young African entrepreneurs, including Rwandans.

Inspired by Tony Elumelu's economic philosophy of 'Africapitalism' and his vision to institutionalise luck and democratise opportunity for a new generation of African entrepreneurs, the foundation has implemented one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes globally.

According to the Foundation, selected entrepreneurs from previous years have transformed their businesses and their communities.

"The Tony Elumelu Foundation now more than ever is demonstrating our commitment to unleashing the potential of young African entrepreneurs, the key to Africa's long-term economic transformation."

He added, "The pandemic has created challenges across the continent, but we know that with the Tony Elumelu Foundation's tried and tested Programme, we can execute the largest Covid-19 economic recovery plan for African SMEs and break the cycle of poverty in Africa."

Applications will be judged based on criteria including feasibility, scalability and potential for growth of the product or service, market opportunity for the idea or business, financial understanding, leadership potential and entrepreneurial skills, according to the foundation.

Applicants can apply on TEFConnect -

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