On March 22, 2019, the Tony Elumelu Foundation announced 3,050 entrepreneurs from 54 African countries to join the 5th cohort of its $100million Entrepreneurship Programme. Click to see the full list of selected entrepreneurs on TEFConnect. The colourful event, which also marked the fifth round of the Programme and the significant increase in the number of the annual entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation from 1,000 to 3,050, witnessed the attendance of representatives from the African public and private sector, as well as development organisations.
WHAT CHANGED THIS YEAR
Every year for a 10-year period, the Foundation directly funds 1,000 entrepreneurs across 54 African countries annually, but this year saw an increase in commitment to 3,050 (2,050 additional entrepreneurs will benefit from the Entrepreneurship Programme with support from the Foundation’s partners). The announcement will bring the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation to 7,520 and the total non-refundable seed capital to beneficiaries will total $37,600,000 by October 2019 when the latest cohort receive their seed capital.
Over 216,000 applications were received this year, up from 151,000 last year. There was an increase to 42% female representation of the total number of applications.
The momentous occasion, which was held in the iconic Transcorp Hilton, Abuja for the first time since its inception, began with a presentation by Accenture Development Partnerships on the process of selecting the announced applicants.
The comprehensive report highlighted the different criteria which guided how the applications were reviewed. It revealed that there were separate criteria for those who submitted business ideas versus those who submitted existing businesses (less than 3years in existence).
It showed interesting statistics about the submitted applicants as well as the selected applicants.
Following the insightful presentation by Accenture, guests moved on to the Selection Announcement which was held in the Congress Hall. CEO of the Foundation, Parminder Vir, OBE gave the opening remarks where she shared the story of the past five years of the Entrepreneurship Programme and the Foundation’s achievements. Her passionate speech captured highlights of the ambitious vision of the Foundation, the 7-pillar framework on which the Entrepreneurship Programme was built and the goal for the 10,000 African entrepreneurs – which are the Foundation’s target goal – to create 10million jobs and contribute $1billion to Africa’s economy.
The event was graced by Her Excellency, Wife to the President of Nigeria, HE (Mrs.) Aisha Buhari, who gave the keynote speech to the over 500 participants in the audience and guests watching via livestream links. She commended the Foundation and the Founder, Tony Elumelu on empowering the entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the continent as a whole.
TEF Founder, Tony Elumelu was introduced by the incoming CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu. He took the stage to announce formally unveil the latest cohort of the Programme. The event also marked his 56th birthday and it was a great way to unveil his family’s commitment to empowering African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.
The partners of the Tony Elumelu Foundation who were present at the event include Nneka Onwudiwe, representative of Anambra State Government; Anno Kokeletso Tshipa, Head, Marketing & Communications, (Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency), Botswana; Thato Jensen, Director, Corporate Planning (Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency), Botswana; Khardiata Lo Ndiaye, Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme, Nigeria (UNDP); Lucky Musonda, Communications Specialist, UNDP; Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director, Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, African Development Bank (AfDB); Ilyes Bdioui – Chief Finance Officer and Partnerships, AfDB; Claude Borna, MD and Chief Innovation Officer, Sèmè City Development Agency, Republic of Benin; Eloi Fillion, Head of Delegation, Head of Mission- Nigeria, ICRC; Ralph El Hage Manager, Donor Relations, Corporate Partnerships and Fundraising, ICRC; Taimur Bashir, Deputy Economic Security Coordinator, ICRC; and Ekemini Francis, Resource Mobilization Project Officer, ICRC.
The Foundation continues to build on its commitment to empowering African entrepreneurs through its advocacy, programmes and products, the latest which is TEFConnect.
The digital hub for entrepreneurs, TEFConnect, provides a convening spot for entrepreneurs who wish to grow their businesses beyond physical borders, ensuring they can connect and collaborate for increased business partnerships. It has been hailed as the “Facebook for African entrepreneurs”.
More importantly, the data resident within the Foundation’s repository provides useful insight into Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, a useful resource during policymaking and key decision implementation in the African public and private sectors.