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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:

About The 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. 

Nossos marcos descritos abaixo falam por si:

  • 1- We have provided training, mentoring and funding to 9,172 African start-ups from 54 African countries, selected from over 300,000 applications.
  • 2- We have staged the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • 3- We have travelled across Africa with Founder, Tony Elumelu, introducing the TEF entrepreneurs to their political leaders at the highest levels of government, to bring these entrepreneurs and their challenges to the attention of policymakers who can effect changes that will improve the enabling environment, for not just TEF entrepreneurs but for all entrepreneurs in the respective countries.
  • 4- We have facilitated TEF entrepreneurs with setting up Alumni Country Chapters and Networks across the 54 African countries.
  • 5- The Foundation has leveraged its access to unique data, to produce original reports to support advocacy agenda to improve the ecosystem for African entrepreneurs: Unleashing Africa’s Entrepreneurs: Improving the Enabling Environment for Start-ups; Africans Investing in Africa, collaborated with University of Edinburgh to produce a report on Africapitalism and a Teaching Case Study is being developed by the Bertha Centre, University of Cape Town on the Foundation and its programme.
  • 6- TEF is the founding member of SPARK, launched by President Obama in May 2015 at the White House to promote global entrepreneurship and presented TEF at global entrepreneurship forums: MassChallenge UK launch Feb; Global Entrepreneurship Congress Milan, March; Oxford University African Business Conference, Cambridge African Entrepreneurship Conference; to name a few.
  • 7- The Founder led a successful outing for TEF at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland and the World Economic Forum, Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.
  • 8- The Foundation has signed several strategic partnerships including: an MOU with the Nigerian Ministry for Information and Culture to invigorate the Nigerian Creative Industries; ECOWAS; International Trade Centre; Africa Development Bank, Microsoft to name but a few.
  • 9- We have built Africa’s largest online platform the TEFConnect, which is the go-to destination for African entrepreneurs.
  1. 2- What are the 7 pillars of TEF ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME?
  1. Mentoria
  2. Start-up Enterprise Toolkit
  3. Online Resources
  4. Meetups
  5. Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum
  6. Seed Capital Funding
  7. TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Alumni Network

Os pilares foram concebidos para responder às necessidades essenciais para garantir o sucesso de um empresário africano.

  1. 3- Why does funding not come first?

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.

Elegibilidade do programa

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?

Sim. Os funcionários atuais ou seus familiares da Fundação Tony Elumelu e empresas afiliadas do Heirs Holdings Group e do Grupo UBA não são elegíveis para se candidatarem ao Programa de Empreendedorismo TEF, seja individualmente ou como parte de uma equipe.

Processo de inscrição no programa

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?

O 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.

Processo de seleção do programa

1- Como são escolhidos os candidatos selecionados para ingressar no programa?

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?

Se for oferecida aos Candidatos uma vaga no Programa, espera-se que os Candidatos:

  1. – complete a self-declaration form,
  2. – provide proof of valid ID,
  3. – provide a personal bank statement from the past 6 months,
  4. – provide a statement of current personal debts,
  5. – provide a reference from an employer, bank and/or academic institutions;
  6. – Provide business bank account details (For UBA present countries, it must be a UBA account)


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:

  • – You did not complete the application
  • – Your business or idea is more than 3 years old
  • – Your business or idea is not based in Africa
  • – Your descriptions in one or more sections of the application was not clearly described
  • – Your application did not meet other eligibility criteria
  • – You scored low in one or more of the selection criteria.

7- How can I improve my chances next year?

Certifique-se de revisar os critérios de seleção no próximo ciclo do programa e de descrever seu plano de negócios ou ideia de forma que todos os aspectos do negócio ou ideia (ou seja, descrição, mercado, aquisição de clientes, finanças, etc.) sejam totalmente cobertos. 

  1. 8- Is there a waiting list for Applicants who could join the programme?

Sim, há uma lista de espera. Se algum dos 1000 selecionados não reivindicar as suas vagas no prazo estabelecido, o próximo melhor empreendedor da lista de espera será escolhido antes do início do ciclo do programa.

 9-If not selected, can I reapply in another programme cycle?

Sim. Abriremos a plataforma para inscrições no dia 1º de janeiro de cada ano. Cada candidato deverá apresentar uma nova inscrição. Acreditamos que o tempo decorrido deverá servir para renovar o seu interesse nos seus objetivos empresariais, e poderá haver novos desenvolvimentos a incluir na candidatura.



  1. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Mentors are highly experienced professionals, business frontrunners and entrepreneurs with vast knowledge and excellence in their fields, who want to help the next generation of African entrepreneurs. 
    1. 2- How do I become a TEF ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME mentor/how can I volunteer my services as an experienced entrepreneur?

    Experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to volunteer as TEF Entrepreneurship Programme mentors, can apply aqui.

    1. 3- When do I get a mentor?

    All successful applicants will be matched with a mentor from the start of the programme 1st May until the end of the year/cycle.

    1. 4- Can I choose my own mentor/mentee?

    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. 

    1. 5- Will the mentorship relationship be one-to-one?

    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. 

    1. 6- What is the mentor’s role in my business?

    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.

    1. 7-Do I have the same mentor for the entire programme?

    Yes. But you will also be able to engage with other entrepreneurs, alumni and mentors on the TEFConnect.

    1. 8-Can I retain the mentorship relationship outside and beyond the programme?

    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?

Sim. O financiamento de capital inicial é fixado em $5.000.

4- How will the funds be dispersed?

Os fundos serão transferidos diretamente para a conta bancária comercial do empresário – contas pessoais não são permitidas. Para quem está nos países da UBA, a conta empresarial deve ser aberta na UBA.


1- Can I complete the Start-up Enterprise Toolkit courses offline?

Sim. É importante ressaltar que embora todo o material do curso esteja hospedado no TEFConnect, todas as tarefas são práticas (aprendizado ao vivo). Você pode baixar o conteúdo e consultá-lo offline. Você deverá, no entanto, submeter as tarefas no TEFConnect e elas deverão ser revisadas pelo seu mentor.

  1. 2- Are all the courses/tasks in the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit compulsory?

Sim. As start-ups devem completar todas as tarefas do programa de 12 semanas.

  1. 3- Will the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit be relevant to my business model?

Sim. Todos os tópicos abordados no Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit serão relevantes para ajudá-lo a melhorar seu conhecimento e habilidades práticas de negócios, independentemente do setor.

 4- Will the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit be suited to my schedule?

Sim. Todas as semanas, você receberá tarefas para concluir, aplicáveis ao dia-a-dia do seu negócio.


1- How do I get access to the Mentoring and Learning platform of the TEF Connect?

  1. Como beneficiário do TEFConnect, certos aspectos do seu perfil TEFConnect são limitados e acessíveis apenas às start-ups, mentores, ex-alunos selecionados, à equipa do TEF e às organizações parceiras selecionadas.

    1. 2- What can I do on the TEFConnect?

    Todo o programa está hospedado no TEFConnect. Seu envolvimento com seu mentor e outros empreendedores é feito no TEFConnect por meio de mensagens individuais, fóruns e chats ao vivo. O programa de aprendizagem Start-up Enterprise Toolkit também está hospedado no TEFConnect. Você terá acesso à nossa biblioteca de recursos on-line com curadoria de estudos de caso, exemplos de planos de negócios, documentos de pesquisa, apresentações de vídeo e também poderá se comunicar com membros da Rede de Ex-alunos do TEF. 

    1. 3- Can I sign in with my social media accounts?

    Sim. A plataforma de aplicativos TEFConnect possui uma funcionalidade de login único e pode ser vinculada à sua conta do LinkedIn ou Facebook. 

    1. 4- Is the TEFConnect mobile-friendly?

    Sim. O TEFConnect está acessível em seus smartphones e tablets.


1- How will my personal information be used?

O nome, país e perfil de cada candidato selecionado serão disponibilizados para fins de relações públicas em todo o mundo. Cada indivíduo será solicitado a fornecer um perfil e uma foto assim que ingressar no programa.

2- Who can access/view my profile on the TEFConnect?

O TEFConnect é um grupo fechado, acessível apenas às start-ups, mentores, ex-alunos selecionados, à equipa do TEF e às organizações parceiras selecionadas. Somente aqueles que fazem parte desta comunidade fechada poderão visualizar seu perfil e entrar em contato com você no TEFConnect.

3- Will my business’ Intellectual Property be protected?

Todas as informações armazenadas no TEFConnect são consideradas seguras e protegidas. A propriedade intelectual partilhada com a Fundação na sua candidatura é totalmente confidencial e apenas partilhada entre a equipa do TEF, revisores designados e o Comité de Seleção que tenham assinado acordos de confidencialidade.

Todas as partes do programa obedecem aos mais elevados padrões éticos; no entanto, a fundação não é responsável por violação de direitos autorais ou roubo de propriedade intelectual entre empreendedores e mentores. Qualquer indivíduo que violar esta regra será desqualificado.


1- How can I contact representatives of the Foundation?

Empreendedores e ex-alunos selecionados:

Entre em contato com o administrador do TEF através do TEFConnect
-Candidatos e outras dúvidas:

  • – A página de contato no site


  1. 2-How do I stay connected to the Foundation even after I have concluded the programme?

Todos os empreendedores que concluíram com sucesso o Programa de Empreendedorismo TEF e reuniram o seu capital inicial são automaticamente inscritos como membros da Rede de Ex-Alunos do TEF.

  1. 3- What are the benefits of the TEF Alumni Network?

Como membro da Rede TEF Alumni, você terá acesso contínuo ao TEFConnect através do status de “ex-aluno” (não do status de start-up). Isso lhe dá acesso total à nossa biblioteca de recursos on-line, envolvimento entre pares, notificação de eventos on-line e off-line e afiliação contínua à Fundação.

  1. 4- What happens if there are changes to my business model during the programme?

Os candidatos são os únicos responsáveis pela estrutura do negócio e pelos membros da equipe dentro dele. Uma vez seleccionados para aderir ao programa, os negócios dos empresários não podem ser alterados ou alterados significativamente.

 5- How much time must I dedicate to the programme?

Os empreendedores selecionados e confirmados deverão estar disponíveis para se comprometerem com o programa anual de maio a dezembro do ano de inscrição.

 6- Is attendance at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum mandatory?

Sim. Todos os empreendedores selecionados deverão participar do Fórum de Empreendedorismo TEF para permanecerem no programa. Circunstâncias atenuantes podem ser consideradas para o não comparecimento.


  1. Will I need to fund my travel expenses to attend the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum?

Os empresários seleccionados que viajam para a Nigéria para participar no Fórum de Empreendedorismo TEF serão cobertos pela Fundação Tony Elumelu. A Fundação aconselhará os empresários se esta situação mudar.

Os mentores convidados deverão financiar suas próprias viagens, salvo acordo em contrário.


  1. What if I require a visa to enter Nigeria for the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum?

A Fundação Tony Elumelu fornecerá uma carta de endosso e documentação de apoio (cópia da reserva do voo, etc.) para tornar o processo de obtenção do visto o mais tranquilo possível.

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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