The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has announced the selection of 1,000 African entrepreneurs, creating the 3rd cohort of the 10-year, $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The 1,000 entrepreneurs – a bulk of which are Nigerian but also includes strong representation from countries like Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Cameroon and South Africa – were chosen from 93,000 applicants from 55 African countries – more than twice 2016 applications and nearly four times 2015.
Over the next nine months, the 2017 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs will be trained and mentored, and will use the skills acquired to develop a business plan. Following which, they will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in seed capital.
Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, commented: “Standing here today to announce the successful applicants is bittersweet; we have 92,000 budding business leaders who weren’t selected for our Programme and these young African men and women have demonstrated a lot of energy innovation and creativity in their applications. We should not relent until we help them ALL realize their aspirations.”
The Foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Mr. Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector – and most importantly entrepreneurs – as the catalysts for the economic and social development of the continent.
Agriculture leads the sectors with (29%) of applicants coming from this sector, followed by ICT (11%) and manufacturing (9%), reflecting the industries of interest for African startups. Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon produced the most applicants.
CEO, Parminder Vir OBE, said: “The achievements of each successive cohort is clear evidence of the growing transformative power of our Programme. We recently sampled 600 of our existing 2,000 entrepreneurs to analyse the Programme’s impact and have been impressed by the robustness and particularly impact on employment we are beginning to have. We have also partnered with organisations, including Microsoft, GE, ECOWAS, to provide further benefits to our entrepreneurs.”
The Programme culminates in the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum – the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the full entrepreneurship ecosystem from across the continent, which brings together entrepreneurs, mentors and business and political leaders in October, for a two day event in Lagos, Nigeria.
The full list of selected entrepreneurs can be viewed here.