Find the answers to frequently asked questions here.
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:
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme
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:
- – We have provided training, mentoring and funding to 9,360 African start-ups from 54 African countries, selected from over 300,000 applications.
- – We have staged the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria.
- – 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.
- – We have facilitated TEF entrepreneurs with setting up Alumni Country Chapters and Networks across the 54 African countries.
- – 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.
- – 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.
- – 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.
- – 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.
- – We have built Africa’s largest online platform the TEFConnect, which is the go-to destination for African entrepreneurs.
What are the 7 pillars of TEF Entrepreneurship Programme?
- – Mentoring
- – Start-up Enterprise Toolkit
- – Online Resources
- – Meetups
- – Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum
- – Seed Capital Funding
- – TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Alumni Network
The pillars have been designed to address the essential needs to ensure success for an African entrepreneur.
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.
About The TEF-EU Partnership
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the European Union have launched a partnership to identify, train, mentor and fund 2,500 young African women entrepreneurs in 2021. The partnership will disburse €20 million in financial and technical support for women-owned businesses, across all 54 African countries, in addition to providing increased access to market linkages, supply chains and venture capital investments.
This partnership is jointly co-financed by the European Union (EU), the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific State (OACPS), and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
This partnership will be implemented under the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. Aspiring women entrepreneurs interested in this opportunity should apply to the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme which opens Jan 1 2021.
Who Is Eligible to Apply?
All African women entrepreneurs living in any African country with the right to work and operate a business in that country.
Who Is Not Eligible To Apply?
Employees from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the EU and their Immediate family members.
1- How do I apply for the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme?The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is open to Africans from all 54 African countries with scalable business ideas or a business that has been operational for no more than 5 years. Applicants must be 18 years of age and above. Interested applicants may register on TEFConnect.net
2- Is there an age limit?Applicants must be 18 years of age and above or considered above the age of minors in their country.
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 5 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.
7- Who is not eligible to participate in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme?
- – TEF Audit Partners and their Immediate Family Members.
- – Employees of companies affiliated with the Tony Elumelu Foundation who have been involved in the creation or administration of the Programme and their Immediate Family Members.
- – The Promoter’s consultants and agents (and employees and Immediate Family Members of such employees where the consultants and agents are entities) involved in the creation and administration of this programme.
- – Research institutions, faith-based organisations, government agencies and businesses not located in Mali will not be eligible to apply for the programme.
- – Applications by TEF Alumni or their Business Partner.
- – Applications by persons disqualified under any previous TEF programme.
- – Applications made using methods such as a macro, script, using automated devices or processors or other forms of digital tool to gain an unfair advantage.
- – Incomplete and incorrect applications.
- – Applications which contain illegal or unethical Businesses or Business Ideas.
8- As a TEF Alumni, can I apply again through another SME/Start-up?No, existing TEF Beneficiaries cannot reapply to the programme after receiving seed capital. For non TEF beneficiaries who have applied to the programme unsuccessfully in the past, you are eligible to re-apply.
Programme Application Process
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 also available in Arabic, 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.
Applicants who applied for the 2020 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and have been advised to proceed to the next stage, are kindly requested to review and reconfirm their current submissions via www.tefconnect.com on February 1, 2021.
The portal will open on Tefconnect.com for access review of previous submissions on February 1, 2021 reconfirmation must occur on or before March 31, 2021. It is mandatory for all 2020 applicants to review reconfirm their submissions.
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.
9. As an Alumni, can I help someone else through the programme?
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is proud of its large and resourceful alumni network. However, no alumni should offer to or solicit gains in whatever nature from prospective applicants.
10- How do I get assistance while applying?
No persons or agents have been authorized by the Tony Elumelu Foundation to assist applicants. We strongly recommend that applicants participate in the entire process by themselves. Please reach out to us via email@example.com or on social media @tonyelumeluFDN and @tonyelumelufoundation on Twitter and Instagram if you have questions.
11- Can I pay someone to apply on my behalf?
No. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is a non-for-profit organization. Any activity carried out through the course of the programme – from application to receiving seed capital – on the premise of value exchange with any persons or agents is prohibited. The Foundation reserves the right to disqualify applicants or defaulting alumni on such grounds.
Programme Selection Process
1- How are selected applicants chosen to join the programme?
Selection of the applicants will take place after applicants successfully completes all the stages of the training and successfully take part in the pitch.
The program stages are as follows
- • Application Phase
- • Training & Mentorship Phase
- • Business Plan Submission Phase
- • Pitching Phase
- • Seed Capital Phase
2-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.
3-If my start-up is selected to join the programme, when and how will I be informed?
Application phase takes place January 1 to March 31 and applicants receive notification of their status immediately they submit. Please look out for the email.
4-What happens after the application?
Once applications are submitted applicants will be placed in the appropriate training path as follows:
This means you do not have the skillset needed to start a business. You will go through the general free training on TEFConnect. You will, however, not be eligible for mentorship or seed capital but can reapply the next year.
This means you are a starter according to the business start-up profiling. You will go through the beginner training modules and you will have access to world class mentors during the programme.
This means that you have been profiled to be an intermediate entrepreneur. You have a good potential to be a successful entrepreneur. You will go through the Intermediate training modules and you will have access to world class mentors during the programme.
This means that you are or identified to be natural or a seasoned entrepreneur. You will go through the Advanced training modules and you will have access to world class mentors during the programme.
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:
- – Complete a self-declaration form,
- – Provide proof of valid ID,
- – Provide a personal bank statement from the past 6 months,
- – Provide a statement of current personal debts,
- – Provide a reference from an employer, bank and/or academic institutions;
- – 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 5 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?
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.
8- Is there a waiting list for Applicants who could join the programme?
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.
Q. Is my business qualified to be funded?
The seed capital is disbursed at the end of the programme cycle. The disbursement process may last for up to 3 months. The timeline is dependant on the applicant’s compliance with the KYC of the Foundation and their Bank’s, as well as the fund’s transit pace.
FAQs on the Mode of Payment for Seed Capital Funding
What currency is the seed capital paid?
Once the final selection is completed; all successful entrepreneurs would be provided with pre-generated business accounts in UBA which they would be required to regularise before they can access the seed capital funds made to them through those accounts.
All selected entrepreneurs need to regularise within the stipulated time to be eligible for payment.
Q: How do I regularise my account?
Find below the requirements to regularise the account:
- • Deux (2) Photos d’identité / 2 Passport photographs
- • Un extrait du registre de commerce (RCCM) / Trade register’s copy
- • Le numéro d’identification fiscal (NIF) / Tax registration
- • Carte d’Identité Nationale (CIN) ou l’attestation d’identité accompagnée du passeport ou du permis ou la carte de séjour du gérant en cours de validité ou la carte Nina / Valid ID card or residence permit or ID certificate + passport or driving licence of the manager.
- • Justificatif de domicile (Factures EDM ; SOMAGEP portant le nom de l’entreprise ou certificat de résidence) / Proof of address (EDM, SOMAGEP invoices bearing the name of the company or certificate of residence).
Please note that the requirements listed are specific to UBA banks, and in non-UBA countries, applicants will have to visit their banks for further assistance and information.
For more enquiries and clarifications, please send an email to. firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Can I get the link to update my profile as a mentor?
A: Yes, you can. Kindly sign into TEFConnect.com as a mentor and update your profile details.
Q: Are TEF mentors paid?
A: Our mentors are volunteers who do not receive payment for the support they provide. However, we reward their efforts through certificates of achievements and value-add opportunities.
Q: How can I apply to be a mentor?
A: Thank you for your interest in being a mentor. Kindly share your preferred email address and we will reach out to you. You can also join the global TEF Mentor Guild via www.tonyelumelufoundation.org/2021mentors
Q: What are the criteria of being a TEF mentor?
A: We are happy to welcome you to join our Mentor Charter if most of these apply to you:
- Professional or business experience of 5 years or more
- Speak either English, French, Portuguese or Arabic Fluently
- Passionate about developing others
- Committed to Own learning
- Great interpersonal and listening skills
- Able to communicate through concepts and models
- Business Savvy/ entrepreneurial
- Able to see the big picture and connect the dots
- Able to set and meet target goals
- Being 30 years of age or more would be an advantage
Q: What are the requirements?
A: All interested mentors are to:
- – Sign up to become a member of the global TEF Mentor Guild.
- – Click on “apply here” to complete our registration form, from which we will obtain information that will be used to create your mentor profile on TEFConnect.
- – Once your registration is accepted, you will be assigned as a TEF Coach or Mentor and be required to sign an MoU signifying that you consent to our mentor guild guidelines.
Q: Who is a TEF Coach?
A: Coaches are individuals who have a minimum of one year business/ professional experience and have met a minimum of 30% of our mentor skills assessment.
They are assigned to guide a specified group of entrepreneurs while they are enrolled in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme business training, for a period of 12 weeks.
Q: Who is a TEF Mentor?
A: Mentors are individuals who have a minimum of five years of business/ professional experience and have met a minimum of 50% of our mentor skills assessment.
They are assigned to no more than 3 mentees who have met all requirements to successfully complete the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and are considered TEF Alumni and must commit to mentoring their assigned mentees (TEF Alumni) for 2 hours monthly, over a 12-month period.
Q: Can a mentor also apply as an entrepreneur?
A: A mentor cannot apply as an entrepreneur.
Q: When does the mentorship programme start?
A: The mentorship programme happens in two phases: during the training phase that takes place every May till July, and after the entrepreneurs successfully meet all requirements to become members of our Alumni network in November of every year and runs for a 12-month period.
Q: What are additional resources for Mentors?
A: The additional resources include:
- – Access to self-development trainings
- – Access to mentor groups for networking
- – Access to the largest platform of African entrepreneurs
- – Social media visibility
- – Improved standing amongst peers, through association
- – Annual mentor certificate
Q: Can I get the mentorship email address?
A: If you are a TEF mentor, kindly use this email address email@example.com
Q: I no longer receive email that is sent out to mentors
A: Kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Will the Mentorship Programme be happening at the same time with training?
A: The mentorship programme will run in two phases: simultaneously with the training, and at the end of the training.
Q: Is there a Telegram group for Mentors?
A: Yes. Kindly send an email to email@example.com to be part of this group.
Q: I applied as a mentor instead of an entrepreneur. What can I do?
A: Kindly note that applications to the programme are closed for this year.
- 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.
- 2- What can I do on the TEFConnect?
- 3- Can I sign in with my social media accounts?
- 4- Is the TEFConnect mobile-friendly?
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