By Julius N. Uma
March 22, 2019 (ABUJA/JUBA) – 52 South Sudanese are among the 3,050 African entrepreneurs selected to join the fifth cycle of Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) $100million entrepreneurship programme.
This year, TEF said in a statement, over 216,000 applications were received, a rise from last year’s 151,000. Also nearly 90,000 were submitted by female entrepreneurs, an increase of 45 per cent, 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.
“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,” TEF founder, Tony O. Elumelu, said during Friday’s announcement of the winners.
He added, “We must rally together to empower them and accelerate the change we want on the continent”.
Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, TEF’s incoming CEO said the foundation entrepreneurship programme has so far successfully empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in the first five years of the 10-year programme.
Meanwhile, Aisha Buhari, the wife of the Nigerian President commended the programme’s impact on the continent, charging the selected entrepreneurs to contribute to Africa’s advancement.
“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,” she said.
Founded by African investor and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu, TEF is the leading African philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs. The foundation is reportedly guided by the philosophy, Africapitalism, which proposes that the private sector holds the key to unlocking the sustainable development of Africa.
The Foundation’s growing list of partners include, 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 African Development Bank (AfDB).
Since its inception in 2015, at least 7,520 entrepreneurs have been empowered by the foundation, with support from its partners.