The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has begun the process of selecting 1,000 African entrepreneurs with the most innovative and high profiled business ideas for its annual entrepreneurial empowerment programme.
TEF Founder, Tony Elumelu said the number and quality of applicants – 151,000 in total – was outstanding.
“For us, 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.
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%, followed by technology (10.5%) and Education and training (9%).
He further explained that the 2018 set includes an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection of 1,000, thanks to $1,000,000 partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria, a $200,000 agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs; and a $50,000 partnership with Indorama (an Asian-based company with operations in West Africa) to support 10 Nigerians.
TEF CEO, 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.