Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship programme 2021

Elumelu Foundation Spends $24.7m, Empowers 5000 African Entrepreneurs

3 years ago
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… Each Beneficiary Gets $5,000 Seed Capital Funding

TONY Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a leading non-profit organization in Africa, has invested $24.7 million in providing seed capital funding for almost 5000 entrepreneurs selected from across the 54 nations on the continent.

This was announced at an event to unveil the beneficiaries for the foundation’s 2021 entrepreneurship programme which was held in Lagos on Friday, November 12.

Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said members of the team driving the entrepreneurship programme, tasked their ingenuity and embarked on a digital transformation agenda which succeeded in automating the foundation’s systems and processes, making it possible for any entrepreneur from any apart of Africa to apply and get a chance to benefit from the programme.

Her words, “We decided that our selection process will be 80 percent automated. We introduced psychometric assessment, business competency test, and we leverage our artificial intelligence machine learning, in screening, training, testing, scoring and selecting from hundreds of thousands of African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries. And you can see today the product of our work and innovation; this is the spirit of entrepreneurship.

“Our founder pushed us and we unleashed our own inner entrepreneurs, and today, in 2021, we trained ten times more than we trained from 2015 to 2019 combined. Today in 2021, we would be paying out a record total of $24,750,000 (twenty four million, seven hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars). Direct to hands of African entrepreneurs.” “This is a continuous improvement” she added.   

She also thanked the foundation’s partners/stakeholders for sharing in their dream and aspiration of growing African entrepreneurs and supporting them.  

The foundation was established in 2010 with a goal to empower over 10,000 African entrepreneurs and create over one million jobs in a 10-year period at a rate of 1000 entrepreneurs per year. This of cause also had the goal of also generating revenues across Africa through the businesses created.

The 2021 beneficiaries were selected from a pool of 406,257 applications, based on their innovation, performance, and growth potential to create jobs and eradicate poverty on the continent.

The beneficiaries after being shortlisted, underwent rigourous training on business management and mentorship, conducted exclusively on TEFConnect, the Foundation’s proprietary digital platform.

5,000 African Entrepreneurs Set To Get $5000 TEF Seed Capital Funding

The 2021 programme recorded 68 percent representation of women and 32 percent of men.

Commenting on the programme, the President/Group CEO, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, Owen Omogiafo noted that the 68 percent representation of women in the 2021 programme is commendable.

“Seeing those numbers, with the geographical spread, and having nearly 70 percent of women is commendable. And it is showing that women are stepping up, and it also shows (because we must never forget it) that men are also creating an enabling environment we sitting as partners, and that enabling environment is allowing us to thrive,” stated Omogiafo.  

TEF 2021 announcement

By regional representation, 2,830 beneficiaries were selected from West Africa, 1,204 from East Africa, 662 from Central Africa, 224 from Southern Africa, and 29 from Northern Africa.

The entrepreneurs cut across sectors including Agriculture, food and beverage, commerce/retail, healthcare, ICT, education, fashion, beauty & wellness, waste management and manufacturing.

Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu urged the beneficiaries to cultivate the attitude of hard work, discipline and also think of how to create impacts in their various communities so that the network of entrepreneurship will continue to grow to reduce poverty in the society.  

“To you young African entrepreneurs – work hard, dream dreams, and be very disciplined. You must continue to think of the impact. The entrepreneurship journey is not linear – there are ups and downs, but by staying focused and resilient, ultimately success will come your way. The future of our continent is in your hands. What you do as an entrepreneur will go a long way in lifting Africa out of poverty. I am happy that our female entrepreneurs are doing very well, with 68% representation this year,” Elumelu stated.

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He urged African leaders to invest in empowering young entrepreneurs in the continent by creating enabling environment for them to establish themselves and contribute to national economic development.

“We need to keep creating the right enabling environment to enable our young ones to succeed. We must realise that their success is success for all of us on the continent. We must prioritise them because nations and continents that prioritise their people, succeed. To my fellow business leaders, let us realise that in the 21st century and beyond, it is about impact, legacy and about how we work together to power people out of poverty. It is such a great feeling to see 5000 young Africans also commence their own entrepreneurial journeys today,” Elumelu added.


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