The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) on Thursday in Lagos, announced 1,250 successful African entrepreneurs with the most innovative, high-potential business ideas that will participate in the 2018 Entrepreneurship programme.
The 4th cycle selection was made out of over 151,692 applications received from around 114 countries in the continent as part of the ongoing 10-year, $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
A statement issued by the Foundation in Lagos and emailed to Business Hilights, disclosed that the 2018 cohort includes an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection, thus bringing total to 1,250.
It revealed that the additional entries came as a result of a $1,000,000 partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria especially in the North East where the Boko Haram insurgency is felt and the Niger Delta region which suffers environmental degradation from oil spillage.
There is also, another $200,000 agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs; and a $50,000 partnership with Indorama to support 10 Nigerians.
TEF Founder and chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc., Tony Elumelu, in his remarks, observed that “The number and quality of applicants, 151,000 in total, was outstanding – it illustrates the strength and depth of entrepreneurial promise and commitment on our continent”. “Selection is never easy, and we profoundly regret that we cannot help all. Our partnerships with the Red Cross, UNDP and Indorama, alongside ongoing discussions with other international organizations, reflect the growing global recognition of what we have known all along – that entrepreneurship is the most effective path to sustainable development on our continent and our Programme is the model to follow.”
He said “There was a near 50-50 split between male and female applications, reflecting the entrepreneurial ambition of Africa’s women. Agriculture was the leading sector among selected entrepreneurs at 30.5%, followed by technology (10.5%) and Education & training (9%)”.
According to the chief executive of the Foundation, Parminder Vir OBE, “Over the next nine months, the entrepreneurs will receive online training and mentoring, and will use the skills acquired to develop business plans prior to receiving $5,000* in seed capital. This will bring TEF’s total Programme investment so far to $15 million in direct funding to entrepreneurs and $5.8 million in Programme & technology development and operations”.
Additional details averred that TEF beneficiaries have created more than 55,000 jobs and counting, and will convene from across all of Africa’s 54 countries to Lagos this October for the TEF Forum – the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world.