Promoting African entrepreneurship is the goal of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which took off since 2015 on the African continent. It is a program for the benefit of African entrepreneurs with business ideas or companies that are not yet 5 years old.
Every year since 2015, the TEF (Tony Elumelu Foundation) program has held a competition for young entrepreneurs from 54 African countries with an innovative entrepreneurial project. Indeed, it is a philanthropic organization that empowers young African entrepreneurs and supports them in realizing their dreams. This January 1st, applications to the program for the year 2022 were launched on tefconnect.net and close on March 31.
As a result, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has emerged as the only African entrepreneurial gas pedal to fund 15,847 entrepreneurs across the continent with non-repayable seed capital of $5,000 each; twelve weeks of business management training; access to experienced mentors; and membership in the largest entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.
Beyond funding, a high-impact program
It is an emblematic, high-impact project that positions African entrepreneurs as key players in the continent’s economic and social development. In an environment of lack of funding or investment and given the galloping unemployment rate, the TEF project is a great opportunity for African youth. For the 2021 cohort, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has contributed $24.75 million to fund 5,000 African entrepreneurs.
This ambitious program, which aims to impact a large number of people, has released $100 million over 10 years to identify, train, mentor and finance 10,000 young African entrepreneurs. It is undoubtedly a private sector response to the employment concerns of youth, women and SMEs across Africa. The beneficiaries of the previous editions are already authors of large companies throughout the continent and have created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Tony Elumelu Foundation CEO’s impressions
With a project of this magnitude that intends to revolutionize the practice on a continental scale, the strong participation of the stakeholders is a source of relief. Elumelu Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation does not fail to show his enthusiasm at the launching of the 2022 edition. “We are constantly blown away by the quality of companies that come from Africa every year. This motivates us to step up our efforts to empower even more entrepreneurs on the continent,” he says. In an environment characterized by significant inequalities that make it difficult for women to participate in the business world, having an above-average rate of female participation is the project initiator’s crowning achievement.
“We are also proud of the increase in female participation in our program, especially with the 2021 cohort where we witnessed a record 68% selection of female entrepreneurs,” he said.
A highly applauded initiative
Hauwa Liman, one of the beneficiaries of the TEF program in 2015 and already a business owner and founder of Afrik Abaya, attests to this innovation and the opportunities available to her through the project “My business is located in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria. I benefited from this program in 2015, and it opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me. It’s not just the seed capital, but what really fascinates me about the program is the connections.” The young woman is already considering exporting her products thanks to the knowledge she acquired during her integration in the program.The young woman is already planning to export her products thanks to the knowledge she acquired during her integration in the program. “I will soon start exporting to other countries through the Foundation. We now have ten permanent employees and eight additional employees on commission.”
As a reminder, the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s entrepreneurship program is open to entrepreneurs across Africa: new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector. Potential candidates should apply now on the digital hub for African entrepreneurs www.tefconnect.net.