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With 16 Days to Go: Tony Elumelu Foundation Urges African Entrepreneurs to Apply for Support

With barely 16 days to the close of the 2021 Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme, senior managers of the Foundation today urged young African entrepreneurs to apply for support to enable them grow and sustain their businesses.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (www.TonyElumeluFoundation.org), Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering African entrepreneurs is accepting applications on www.TEFConnect.com for its 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

Speaking at a virtual media encounter, Madam Nkem Onudiwe, Head Marketing and Communications at TEF, said this year’s entrepreneurship support, would help lift up business beneficiaries of the programme.

The 1,000 successful businesses would receive a world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities, she added.

The programme is open to entrepreneurs across Africa, both new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100million Entrepreneurship Programme, launched in 2015 to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years, is now entering its 7th year and has empowered to date, over 9,000 young African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries.

Next Steps

After the announcement of this year’s 1,000 entrepreneurs in early March 2021 will bring the total number of beneficiaries to10,000. The entrepreneurial journey of the new entrants will begin.

They will be on the journey to becoming full-fledged Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme. They are just people with the ideas, Onudiwe, said.

She explained that of the 1,000 prospective entrepreneurs, most of them are in their idea stage. So, after being chosen, the Tony Elumelu Foundation does a due diligence on the 1,000 selected entrepreneurs.

The purpose of the due diligence, according to her is first to establish the true identity of each entrepreneur to confirm who the person is, and he or her business idea.

Secondly, to induct them into the TEF programme, and thirdly, to let them know the various documentations they need to be provided to the Foundation.

After going through the due diligence stage, they will be registered online on the TEF Hub which is the largest virtual ecosystem for African entrepreneurs. It currently has over 1 million subscribers.

From here, the 1,000 selected entrepreneurs will start a 12-week training programme in the first week of May to equip these start-ups with the basic skills required to launch and run their businesses at early growth stage.

It covers several topics including starting and scaling a business, business development, marketing strategy, effective management, product design etc.

During the same period Madam Onudiwe, said, each of them will have a mentor assigned to them. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme model, according to her provides a credible technology-enabled platform for access to world-class mentors from across Africa and international.

These mentors have faced similar challenges and are able to steer up the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme startups on a successful path. “These mentors’ role is to guide them on the journey of entrepreneurship”.

Besides these, during the 12-week and beyond, we have webinars to further train and share tips, lessons, best practices, and the general words of encouragements, she added.

In addition to this, a bespoke compendium of materials, case studies, videos, tasks, templates and interesting articles.

This includes the 12-week series on the Tony Elumelu (TOE) Way, shared concurrently. It expounds the core business values of the Founder, Tony Elumelu, with an aim to building the right character in the entrepreneurs.

After the 12-week training programme, Madam Onudiwe; Madam Somachi Chris-Asoluka, Director of Partnerships and Communications at TEF; and Keside Anosike , Communications Manager at TEF  eloquently said the entrepreneurs are required to write their business plans at the end of the 12-week training session.

Their business plans are reviewed by Accenture, a leading global management consulting and professional services company which provides strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations services, which gives the 1,000 selected entrepreneurs feedback on the business plans which they will be implemented, she told the website.

So, all these steps culminated into the annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum which has been described as the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in Africa. It is normally held in Lagos, Nigeria in the month of October.

But because of the covid-19 pandemic, it is not clear whether there will be TEF Entrepreneurship Forum this year.

TEF normally uses the forum to create networking opportunities for the young entrepreneurs, further skills enhancement, engagement with policy makers, and building new relationships for themselves.

Having successfully gone through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, each entrepreneur receives two tranches of seed capital, totaling $10,000. The first stage non-returnable seed capital of $5,000 is given to each entrepreneur. While the second $5,000 is either a loan or equity, and is tied to clear milestones in a well-articulated and relevant business plan.

After successfully going through the whole TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, all the selected 1,000 entrepreneurs receive certificates personally signed by Mr Tony Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. They also receive entrepreneurship toolkits.

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.

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