TEF 1,000 Successful Applicants for 2017 Entrepreneurship Programme – Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

TEF 1,000 Successful Applicants for 2017 Entrepreneurship Programme – Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), an African founded philanthropic organisation committed to entrepreneurship development, yesterday unveiled the 1,000 African entrepreneurs selected out of a total of 93,000 applicants for the 2017 class of its $100 million entrepreneurship programme.

Applications were received from entrepreneurs across 55 African countries, which was over 100 per cent increase from 2016, and nearly quadruple of the 2015 application numbers.

Agriculture led the pack with nearly one in three successful applicants active in the agric sector. Further analysis of the other figures showed that the next most popular sector was ICT (11%) and then manufacturing (9%), which was an evidence of a paradigm shift away from extractives to a more sustainable mindset that embraces industrialisation and diversification. Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has 50% of the 2017 cohort, with regional powerhouses Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon following respectively.

The successful entrepreneurs will benefit from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme’s 7 Pillars – a toolkit of support including business training, active mentoring, access to networks and funding of up to $10,000 – as they develop their business concepts to support the transformation of the continent.

The founder of TEF, Mr. Tony Elumelu reiterated that “no one but us Africans will develop Africa.”

The foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector – and most importantly entrepreneurs – as catalysts for the economic renaissance of the continent.

Despite the foundation’s considerable commitment (its $100m commitment is the largest endowment in Africa focused on entrepreneurship development), Elumelu said: “Standing here today to announce the successful applicants is bittersweet. There are 92,000 aspiring entrepreneurs who have been unsuccessful. These young African men and women have demonstrated passion, innovation and creativity in their applications and we should not relent until we help them all realise their aspirations. I call on other well-endowed Africans and friends of Africa, to support us to do more.”

Speaking on the Foundation’s impact in three years, the CEO, TEF, Parminder Vir, revealed: “We recently sampled 600 of our existing 2,000 entrepreneurs to understand the extent of our Programme’s impact. We discovered that they have turned our investment into real returns with 1,297 jobs created so far.”

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