By Vera Anyagafu
No fewer than 3,050 entrepreneurs drawn from all 54 African countries are to receive funds from the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), following a presentation of the selection process by Accenture Development Partners.
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Tony Elumelu Foundation, a leading African philanthropy that is committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, over the weekend, announced 3,050 African entrepreneurs, drawn from all 54 African countries, selected to join the 5th cycle of its $100million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The declaration which was made at Abuja was followed by a key note address by TEF incoming Chief Executive Officer, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, who said that, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has successfully empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in its first 5 years of the 10 year programme.
She disclosed that this year, over 216,000 applications were received, “an increase from last year’s 151,000. Nearly 90,000 were submitted by female entrepreneurs, an increase of 45%, illustrating the Foundation’s strategy to achieve greater gender balance. The selected Entrepreneurs will each receive non- refundable $5,000 of seed capital, access to mentors, and a 12-week business training programme, directly focused on the needs of African entrepreneurs. On July 26 – 27 2019, they will gather at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.”
Giving his remarks, founder TEF, Mr.Tony O. Elumelu, CON, who celebrated his birthday over the weekend, said: “Every year, we face an almost impossible task – to select 1,000 entrepreneurs, from the hundreds of thousands that apply. Our entrepreneurs are hungry to effect change.
We know we are only scratching the surface, we see the depth of entrepreneurial talent, that all of us – government, business indeed African society, must harness to transform our economies and livelihoods. We must rally together to empower them and accelerate the change we want on the continent”
Also speaking, wife of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, while applauding the Programme’s impact on the continent, urged the selected entrepreneurs to contribute to the advancement of the African continent as a whole, adding that,
“Indeed, I am confident that these Tony Elumelu entrepreneurs will inspire deep confidence and be of immense value not just to Nigeria but to the entire continent.”
The fifth anniversary of the 10-year programme, includes 2,050 entrepreneurs, supported by the Foundation’s partners in addition to the Foundation’s annual commitment of 1,000, bringing the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation to date to 7,520.
However, the Foundation’s growing list of partners includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal Republic of Benin (Seme City), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, the Government of Botswana and the African Development Bank (AfDB).