More than 150,000 Africans from 114 countries worldwide applied to join the 4th cycle of The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s (TEF) 10-year, $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The 2018 cohort includes an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection of 1,000 – thanks to: a $1,000,000 partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria (the North East where the Boko Haram scourge is felt and the Niger Delta region which suffers environmental degradation from oil spillage) a $200,000 agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs; and a $50,000 partnership with Indorama to support 10 Nigerians.
TEF founder, Mr. Tony Elumelu said at the unveiling of the participants in Lagos that the number of registrants is a confirmation of the strength and depth of entrepreneurial promise and commitment on the African continent.
“The number and quality of applicants, 151,000 in total, was outstanding – it illustrates the strength and depth of entrepreneurial promise and commitment on our continent. Selection is never easy, and we profoundly regret that we cannot help all.
Our partnerships with the Red Cross, UNDP and Indorama, alongside ongoing discussions with other international organizations, reflect the growing global recognition of what we have known all along – that entrepreneurship is the most effective path to sustainable development on our continent and our Programme is the model to follow,” he said.
He announced that there was a near 50-50 split between male and female applications, reflecting the entrepreneurial ambition of Africa’s women. Agriculture was the leading sector among selected entrepreneurs at 30.5 per cent, followed by technology, 10.5 per cent, and education and training, 9 per cent.
Also speaking, the chief executive officer of TEF, Parminder Vir OBE, said: “Over the next nine months, the entrepreneurs will receive online training and mentoring, and will use the skills acquired to develop business plans prior to receiving $5,000 in seed capital.
“This will bring TEF’s total Programme investment so far to $15 million in direct funding to entrepreneurs and $5.8 million in Programme & technology development and operations.
“Our beneficiaries have created more than 55,000 jobs and counting, and will convene from across all of Africa’s 54 countries to Lagos this October for the TEF Forum – the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world.”