The Tony Elumelu Foundation has spent $77 million so far in empowering African Entrepreneurs across the 54 countries of the continent, even as the foundation again opens applications on its TEFConnect digital platform (www.tefconnect.com) today, January 1, 2021.
The CEO of TEF, Mrs Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu made this known today in a virtual World Press Conference with journalists across Africa. She said that 30 percent of the empowered entrepreneurs are into Agriculture, to show TEF commitment to the production of food and eradication hunger in Africa.
Ugochukwu further said that the Foundation will also encourage women to venture into business. “African women have been inhibited by cultural and traditional values, but I am glad that they are breaking the barriers. We intend to encourage African women entrepreneurs more this year”, she said.
Ugochukwu advocates that money should be put in the hands of African Entrepreneurs to go along with training and workshops. She maintained that training and workshops without capital to do real work is not sustainable.
This year’s intervention prioritises the economic recovery of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and young African entrepreneurs, following the Covid-19 disruption to economic activities.
To address the unique challenges arising from the pandemic, lift millions out of poverty and create sustainable employment across the continent, the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme will empower 1,000 young African entrepreneurs, selected from the 2020 cohort. The Foundation will also open applications to an additional 2,400 young entrepreneurs in 2021, in collaboration with global partners.
TEF, which celebrated ten years of impact in 2020, is empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. Successful applicants receive a world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities. The Programme is open to entrepreneurs across Africa, both new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector.
Ugochukwu stated further: “The Tony Elumelu Foundation now more than ever is demonstrating our commitment to unleashing the potential of young African entrepreneurs, the key to Africa’s long-term economic transformation. The pandemic has created challenges across the continent, but we know that with the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s tried and tested Programme, we can execute the largest Covid-19 economic recovery plan for African SMEs and break the cycle of poverty in Africa.”
The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100million Entrepreneurship Programme, launched in 2015 to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years, is now entering its 7th year and has empowered, to date, over 9,000 young African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries.
Prospective applicants should apply on the digital networking hub for African entrepreneurs, www.tefconnect.com.