In 2015, Tony O. Elumelu predicted that the African entrepreneur would explode onto the global stage and change the business landscape as we know it and committed $100 million to empowering the next generation of African entrepreneurs. In the first year, we spent more than $8 million of our $100 million commitment – and the results are better than we imagined. Here’s what you need to know about The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme:
- What is the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme?
Established in 2010, The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is the leading philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent. 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 social and economic development of the continent. The Foundation’s flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs, capable of changing the face of business across Africa. www.tonyelumelufoundation.org/programme
Our milestones outlined below, speak for themselves:
- We have provided training, mentoring and funding to 2000 African start-ups from 53 African countries, selected from over 65,000 applications.
- We have invested over $13 million, of which $10 million have gone directly to the entrepreneurs as seed capital.
- We have staged the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in Lagos, Nigeria.
- We have travelled across Africa with Founder, Tony Elumelu, introducing the TEF entrepreneurs to their political leaders at the highest levels of government, to bring these entrepreneurs and their challenges to the attention of policymakers who can effect changes that will improve the enabling environment, for not just TEF entrepreneurs but for all entrepreneurs in the respective countries.
- We have facilitated TEF entrepreneurs with setting up Alumni Country Chapters and Networks across the 51 African countries.
- The Foundation has leveraged its access to unique data, to produce original reports to support advocacy agenda to improve the ecosystem for African entrepreneurs: Unleashing Africa’s Entrepreneurs: Improving the Enabling Environment for Start-ups; Africans Investing in Africa, collaborated with University of Edinburgh to produce a report on Africapitalism and a Teaching Case Study is being developed by the Bertha Centre, University of Cape Town on the Foundation and its programme.
- TEF is the founding member of SPARK, launched by President Obama in May 2015 at the White House to promote global entrepreneurship and presented TEF at global entrepreneurship forums: MassChallenge UK launch Feb; Global Entrepreneurship Congress Milan, March; Oxford University African Business Conference, Cambridge African Entrepreneurship Conference; to name a few.
- The Founder led a successful outing for TEF at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland and the World Economic Forum, Africa in Kigali, Rwanda
- The Foundation has signed several strategic partnerships including: an MOU with the Nigerian Ministry for Information and Culture to invigorate the Nigerian Creative Industries; ECOWAS; International Trade Centre; Africa Development Bank, Microsoft to name but a few.
- We have built Africa’s largest online platform the TEF Hub, which is the go-to destination for African entrepreneurs.
- What are the 7 pillars of TEF ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME?
- Start-up Enterprise Toolkit
- Online Resources
- Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum
- Seed Capital Funding
- TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Alumni Network
The pillars have been designed to address the essential needs to ensure success for an African entrepreneur.
- Why does funding not come first?
We believe that it is important for the TEF entrepreneurs to build a firm foundation for their businesses through mentorship, as well as the learning and networking tools provided by the Foundation. That way, when we do give them funding, they will be able to use the tools they have learned to put it to better use and maximise the benefits for their business.
- Who can apply?
The programme is open to all citizens and legal residents of any one of the 54 African countries. The proposed business must be registered and operate in Africa.
- Is there an age restriction for applicants?
Yes. Applicants must be 18 years old and must not be considered a minor in their country of residence. There is no upper-limit age restriction.
- Is there a restriction on the types of business/industry?
Yes. The programme is not open to research institutions, faith based organisations, value adding trading companies, government contractors and businesses not located in Africa. Businesses must not adversely affect the environment, lives and property. Business ideas must be for profit, and must be the original work of those making the submission.
- Is there a restriction on the age of my business?
Yes. All businesses must be business ideas or an early stage company, in the range of 0 to 3 years old.
- What if I run multiple early-stage businesses?
Your application must focus on ONE business only. We advise choosing your best, most feasible/innovative business idea. Selected entrepreneurs are not permitted to apply for future cohorts of the programme, even with a different business idea or name.
- Will my start-up be excluded if I have a relation/family member who works for the TEF?
Yes. Current employees or their family members from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and affiliate companies in the Heirs Holdings Group and UBA Group are not eligible to apply for the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, either individually or as part of a team.
- How do I apply for the programme?
All applications must be submitted ONLINE through the application platform of the TEF Hub . You must complete an application form by answering a series of mandatory questions and uploading additional documents and identification materials.
After submission, you will receive a confirmation email of receipt within 1 working day.
- What if my company is a partnership?
Only one nominated person from the business or the partnership may join the programme. You must have consent from all partners, and have and equal or majority share to participate.
- Can I apply offline?
No. All applications must be submitted online through the TEF Hub only.
- What if English is not my first language?
The application form is in English, French and Portuguese.
- What are the important dates and deadlines that I need to be aware of for the application?
The TEF Hub application platform is open from midnight on 1st January, to midnight on 1st March. It will not be possible to submit any applications prior to or after these dates.
- What information/identification do I need to provide in my application?
You must answer all the mandatory questions in the application form, and provide accurate and up-to-date information.
- How many applicants will be chosen to join the programme?
There are 1,000 places available annually for the applications that are reviewed by Accenture and ultimately selected by the Selection Committee for a placement in the programme
8. Are there application/associated fees?
No. The Tony Elumelu Foundation does not charge any applicants a fee for applying to the programme.
Programme Selection Process
- How are selected applicants chosen to join the programme?
Selection of the applicants will take place from the close of the Application on March 1st, by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and an independent Selection Committee appointed by the Foundation, against the specified selection criteria.
- By what criteria are the applicants to be judged?
All applications will be judged on 5 core criteria, which are:
- Feasibility of the business idea.
- Market Opportunity: knowledge and understanding of the market, customers and competitors for their idea/business.
- Financial Understanding: understanding of the basic financial requirements of running a business, costs and revenues.
- Scalability: Demonstrates potential for replication and growth of their product or service to create jobs and wealth.
- Leadership Potential and Entrepreneurial Skills: Demonstrate leadership potential, capable of attracting people, customers and resources.
- The Tony Elumelu Foundation itself is located in Nigeria, does this give preference to Nigerian entrepreneurs?
No. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a Pan-African programme and open to business ideas from all the 54 African countries from which we will select the best business ideas for the programme.
- If my start-up is selected to join the programme, when and how will I be informed?
Successful applicants will be notified on the 22nd of March, via the email address designated in the initial application. The list of selected entrepreneurs will also be posted on the TEF Website.
- What additional information must I supply once my business is selected?
If Applicants are offered a place in the Programme, Applicants will be expected to:
- complete a self-declaration form,
- provide proof of valid ID,
- provide a personal bank statement from the past 6 months,
- provide a statement of current personal debts,
- provide a reference from an employer, bank and/or academic institutions;
- Provide business bank account details (For UBA present countries, it must be a UBA account)
- Why was my application unsuccessful?
Since inception we have received over 65,000 applications for the limited spaces on the programme, while we can only accept 1000 entrepreneurs each year. Here are a few possible reasons why your application was not successful:
- You did not complete the application
- Your business or idea is more than 3 years old
- Your business or idea is not based in Africa
- Your descriptions in one or more sections of the application was not clearly described
- Your application did not meet other eligibility criteria
- You scored low in one or more of the selection criteria.
- How can I improve my chances next year?
Ensure that you review the selection criteria in the next programme cycle and be sure to describe your business plan or idea such that every aspect of the business or idea (i.e. description, market, customer acquisition, financials etc.) is fully covered.
- Is there a waiting list for Applicants who could join the programme?
Yes there is a waiting list. If any of the selected 1000 do not claim their places by the set deadline, the next best entrepreneur from the waiting list will be chosen before commencement of the programme cycle.
- If not selected, can I reapply in another programme cycle?
Yes. We will open the platform for applications on January 1 every year. Each applicant will be required to put in a fresh application. We believe the elapsed time should serve to refresh your interest in your entrepreneurial objectives, and there might be new developments to include in the application.