By Elizabeth Adegbesan
The Tony Elumelu Foundation, TEF, the private-sector-led philanthropy focused on empowering African entrepreneurs, has announced a final list of 2,100 entrepreneurs to benefit from the inaugural TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme.
The programme targets small business owners in rural communities across the seven Sahel countries of Africa, namely, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroon.
The successful beneficiaries participated in an intensive business training administered online and in select communities in each country during the programme. The selected young African entrepreneurs will join the alumni network of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s flagship Entrepreneurship Programme and will each receive seed funding between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on the size of their business initiative.
The TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme is a partnership between the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to empower 100,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years across Africa.
The selection process of the TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme, which commenced with a call for applications in July 2019, ended with a pitching competition in various communities in the seven countries, powered by the United Bank for Africa Plc, while the selection process was coordinated by the global accounting firm, Deloitte.
Speaking on the announcement, Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Africa Regional Head, said: “Youth employment and economic empowerment are critical for the socio-economic transformation of the Sahel. The sheer size of applicants, 81,000 for the TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme, demonstrates an urgent need to scale up.
“The regeneration of the Sahel is a key priority for UNDP. We will continue to prioritise initiatives that break down barriers to attaining the full potential of the Sahel – and bring closer to home, the hope for productive lives for Africa’s youth”.