TEF shortlist 1000 African entrepreneurs for third year running
by FRANK ELEANYA
March 24, 2017 | 10:43 pm| | | Start Conversation
One thousand entrepreneurs in different enterprises from across African countries have been shortlisted for the third cohort of the 10 year, $100 million Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEF).
The 2017 programme saw over 93,000 entrepreneurs, from 55 countries and territories in Africa applied – more than twice 2016 applications and nearly four times 2015.
Announcing the selection, Tony Elumelu, founder of TEF told BusinessDay that “Standing here today to announce the successful applicants is bittersweet; we have 92,000 budding business leaders who were not selected for our programme and these young Africa men and women have demonstrated a lot of energy, innovation and creativity in their applications. We should not relent until we help them all realise their aspirations.”
The 2017 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs will be undergoing a rigorous training and mentorship process over the next nine months, after which they are expected to employ their new skills into developing a business plan which might fetch them up to $10,000 in seed funding.
According to TEF in a statement sent to BusinessDay, the foundation’s long-term investment in empowering African entrepreneurs is emblematic of Tony Elumelu’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions Africa’s private sector and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the economic and social development of the continent.
The sector distribution among the final 1,000 selected applicants showed that Agriculture lead the sector with 29 percent of applicants, followed by ICT (11%), and manufacturing and education (9%), reflecting the industries of interest for African start-ups.
Fifty-five African countries were represented in the batch of 93,246 with Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Cameroon producing the most applicants.
Parminder Vir, chief executive officer of TEF, said “The achievements of each successive cohort are clear evidence of the growing transformative power of our programme. We recently sampled 600 of our existing 2,000 entrepreneurs to analyse the programme’s impact and have been impressed by the robustness and particularly impact on employment we are beginning to have. We have also partnered with organisations, including Microsoft, GE, and ECOWAS, to provide further benefits to our entrepreneurs.”
The Programme culminates in the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum – the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the full entrepreneurship ecosystem from across the continent, which brings together entrepreneurs, mentors and business and political leaders in October, for a two day event in Lagos, Nigeria.
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