In the first year OF TEF, we spent more than $8 million of our $100 million commitment – and the results are better than we imagined. Here’s what you need to know about The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme:
1- What is the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme?
Established in 2010, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is an African private-sector-led philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent. The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the continent. The Foundation’s flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs, capable of changing the face of business across Africa.
Our milestones outlined below, speak for themselves:
The pillars have been designed to address the essential needs to ensure success for an African entrepreneur.
We believe that it is important for the TEF entrepreneurs to build a firm foundation for their businesses through mentorship, as well as the learning and networking tools provided by the Foundation. That way, when we do give them funding, they will be able to use the tools they have learned to put it to better use and maximise the benefits for their business.
1- Who can apply?
The programme is open to all citizens and legal residents of any one of the 54 African countries. The proposed business must be registered and operate in Africa.
2- Is there an age restriction for applicants?
Yes. Applicants must be 18 years old and must not be considered a minor in their country of residence. There is no upper-limit age restriction.
3- Is there a restriction on the types of business/industry?
Yes. The programme is not open to research institutions, faith based organisations, value adding trading companies, government contractors and businesses not located in Africa. Businesses must not adversely affect the environment, lives and property. Business ideas must be for profit, and must be the original work of those making the submission.
4- Is there a restriction on the age of my business?
Yes. All businesses must be business ideas or an early stage company, in the range of 0 to 3 years old.
5- What if I run multiple early-stage businesses?
Your application must focus on ONE business only. We advise choosing your best, most feasible/innovative business idea. Selected entrepreneurs are not permitted to apply for future cohorts of the programme, even with a different business idea or name.
6- Will my start-up be excluded if I have a relation/family member who works for the TEF?
Yes. Current employees or their family members from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and affiliate companies in the Heirs Holdings Group and UBA Group are not eligible to apply for the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, either individually or as part of a team.
1- How do I apply for the programme?
All applications must be submitted ONLINE through the application platform of the TEFConnect . You must complete an application form by answering a series of mandatory questions.
After submission, you will receive a confirmation email of receipt within 1 working day.
2- What if my company is a partnership?
Only one nominated person from the business or the partnership may join the programme. You must have consent from all partners, and have and equal or majority share to participate.
3- Can I apply offline?
No. All applications must be submitted online through the TEFConnect only.
4- What if English is not my first language?
The application form is in English, French and Portuguese.
5- What are the important dates and deadlines that I need to be aware of for the application?
The TEFConnect application platform is open from midnight on 1st January, to midnight on 31st March. It will not be possible to submit any applications prior to or after these dates.
6- What information/identification do I need to provide in my application?
You must answer all the mandatory questions in the application form, and provide accurate and up-to-date information.
7- How many applicants will be chosen to join the programme?
There are 1,000 places available annually for the applications that are reviewed by Accenture and ultimately selected by the Selection Committee for a placement in the programme
8- Are there application/associated fees?
No. The Tony Elumelu Foundation does not charge any applicants a fee for applying to the programme.
1- How are selected applicants chosen to join the programme?
Selection of the applicants will take place from the close of the Application on March 31st, by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and an independent Selection Committee appointed by the Foundation, against the specified selection criteria.
2- By what criteria are the applicants to be judged?
All applications will be judged on 5 core criteria, which are:
-Feasibility of the business idea.
– Market Opportunity: knowledge and understanding of the market, customers and competitors for their idea/business.
– Financial Understanding: understanding of the basic financial requirements of running a business, costs and revenues.
– Scalability: Demonstrates potential for replication and growth of their product or service to create jobs and wealth.
– Leadership Potential and Entrepreneurial Skills: Demonstrate leadership potential, capable of attracting people, customers and resources.
3-The Tony Elumelu Foundation itself is located in Nigeria, does this give preference to Nigerian entrepreneurs?
No. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a Pan-African programme and open to business ideas from all the 54 African countries from which we will select the best business ideas for the programme.
4-If my start-up is selected to join the programme, when and how will I be informed?
Successful applicants will be notified on the 15th of April, via the email address designated in the initial application. The list of selected entrepreneurs will also be posted on the TEF Website.
5-What additional information must I supply once my business is selected?
If Applicants are offered a place in the Programme, Applicants will be expected to:
6- Why was my application unsuccessful?
Since inception we have received over 65,000 applications for the limited spaces on the programme, while we can only accept 1000 entrepreneurs each year. Here are a few possible reasons why your application was not successful:
7- How can I improve my chances next year?
Ensure that you review the selection criteria in the next programme cycle and be sure to describe your business plan or idea such that every aspect of the business or idea (i.e. description, market, customer acquisition, financials etc.) is fully covered.
Yes there is a waiting list. If any of the selected 1000 do not claim their places by the set deadline, the next best entrepreneur from the waiting list will be chosen before commencement of the programme cycle.
9-If not selected, can I reapply in another programme cycle?
Yes. We will open the platform for applications on January 1 every year. Each applicant will be required to put in a fresh application. We believe the elapsed time should serve to refresh your interest in your entrepreneurial objectives, and there might be new developments to include in the application.
1- Who are the TEF ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME mentors?
Experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to volunteer as TEF Entrepreneurship Programme mentors, can apply here.
All successful applicants will be matched with a mentor from the start of the programme 1st May until the end of the year/cycle.
No. Mentors will be assigned to each start-up by the TEF team. Mentors will be assigned based on compatibility criteria such as business/industry experience and country.
Each start-up mentee will have one assigned mentor, although each mentor may have more than one start-up to work with. Mentors will be expected to have a minimum number of contact hours with each start-up mentee.
The mentor’s role is to use their vast business knowledge and experience help you succeed in completing the 12-week start-up enterprise toolkit programme, tackle real-life business obstacles and help you to improve your business along the way.
Yes. But you will also be able to engage with other entrepreneurs, alumni and mentors on the TEFConnect.
The majority of the mentoring engagement will occur on the TEFConnect. However, if relating externally is in the best interest of your business, it can be coordinated between yourself and your mentor.
1- How can my business qualify for funding?
Upon completion of the 12-week Start-up Enterprise Toolkit (learning) programme, certification of submitted business plan, provision of required documentation, business bank account, among other requirements, entrepreneurs will qualify for the first stage non-refundable seed capital of $5,000 (terms and conditions apply).
2- What funding options are available?
Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs who successfully complete the programme by meeting stipulated requirements and deadlines will be eligible for funding. There are two stages of funding available to entrepreneurs:
First stage seed capital funding of $5,000 (based on the official Central Bank of Nigeria exchange rate)– a non-returnable investment. Please see Terms and Conditions for clarification.Second stage capital returnable investment – entrepreneurs will apply and be considered for this based on the viability of their business.
3- Is the initial seed capital amount a fixed sum?
Yes. The initial seed capital funding is fixed at $5,000.
4- How will the funds be dispersed?
The funds will be wired directly into the entrepreneur’s business bank account – personal accounts are not permissible. For those in UBA countries, the business account must be opened with UBA.
1- Can I complete the Start-up Enterprise Toolkit courses offline?
Yes. It is important to note that although all the course material is hosted on the TEFConnect, all assignments are practical (live learning). You can download the content and refer to it offline. You must, however, submit the tasks on the TEFConnect and they must be reviewed by your mentor.
Yes. Start-ups must complete all tasks in the 12-week programme.
Yes. All the topics covered under the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit will be relevant to helping you improve your knowledge and practical business skills, no matter the industry.
4- Will the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit be suited to my schedule?
Yes. Each week you will be given tasks to complete which are applicable to the day-to-day running of your business.
1- How do I get access to the Mentoring and Learning platform of the TEF Connect?
As a beneficiary on TEFConnect, certain aspects of your TEFConnect profile are limited and accessible only to the selected start-ups, mentors, alumni, the TEF team and selected partner organisations.
The entire programme is hosted on the TEFConnect. Your engagement with your mentor and other entrepreneurs is done on the TEFConnect through one-to-one messaging, forums and live chats. The Start-up Enterprise Toolkit learning programme is also hosted on TEFConnect. You will have access to our curated online resources library of case studies, sample business plans, research documents, video presentations, and you can also communicate with members of the TEF Alumni Network.
Yes. The TEFConnect application platform has a single sign-on functionality and can link with your LinkedIn or Facebook account.
Yes. The TEFConnect is accessible on your smartphones and tablets.
1- How will my personal information be used?
The name, country and profile of each successful applicant will be made available for PR purposes globally. Each individual will be asked to provide a profile and photo once they join the programme.
2- Who can access/view my profile on the TEFConnect?
The TEFConnect is a closed group, accessible only to the selected start-ups, mentors, alumni, the TEF team and selected partner organisations. Only those within this closed community will be able to view your profile and contact you on the TEFConnect.
3- Will my business’ Intellectual Property be protected?
All information housed on the TEFConnect is considered safe and secure. Intellectual property shared with the Foundation in your application is completely confidential, and only shared amongst the TEF team, designated reviewers and the Selection Committee who have signed confidentiality agreements.
All parties in the programme are held to the highest ethical standards, however, the foundation is not liable for copyright infringement or intellectual property theft among entrepreneurs and mentors. Any individuals found to be in breach of this will be disqualified.
1- How can I contact representatives of the Foundation?
Selected Entrepreneurs and Alumni:
–Contact the TEF admin through TEFConnect-Applicants and other enquiries:
All entrepreneurs who have successfully completed the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and collected their initial seed capital are automatically enrolled as members of the TEF Alumni Network.
As a member of the TEF Alumni Network, you will have continued access to TEFConnect through “alumni” status (not start-up status). This gives you full access to our online resource library, peer to peer engagement, online and offline events notification and continued affiliation with the Foundation.
Applicants are solely responsible for the structure of the business and the team members within it. Once selected to join the programme, entrepreneurs’ businesses cannot be significantly altered or amended.
5- How much time must I dedicate to the programme?
Selected and confirmed entrepreneurs must be available to commit to the annual programme from May to December in the application year.
6- Is attendance at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum mandatory?
Yes. All selected entrepreneurs must attend the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum in order to remain on the programme. Extenuating circumstances may be considered for non-attendance.
Selected entrepreneurs travel to Nigeria for participation in the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum will be covered by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. The Foundation will advise entrepreneurs if this changes.
Mentors who are invited will be required to fund their own travel, unless otherwise agreed.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation will provide an endorsement letter and supporting documentation (copy of flight booking, etc.) to make the process of obtaining a visa as smooth as possible.
No reimbursement is possible for visa costs, and you are solely responsible for applying for and securing an adequate visa for your travel. Please see Terms and Conditions
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