Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa Top TEF's U.S.$100 Million Entrepreneurship Programme

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) on Monday announced its first 1,000 African entrepreneurs for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP).

The top five countries in terms of the number of winners in the $100 million entrepreneurship programme were Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.

The winners, according to the board of the TEF emerged from 52 African countries and territories, as well as a multitude of value adding sectors ranging from agriculture, education, fashion and information and communication technology (ICT)

All the five regions in Africa – North, East, South, Central, and West Africa were represented, as well as all major language blocs – Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, and Arabic Africa.

Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos, the founder of the TEF, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, noted that over 20,000 African entrepreneurs from 52 countries applied to the programme, “representing the creativity and potential on display across the continent.”

He also said “the selection of these 1,000 entrepreneurs bring us closer to our ultimate goal – to drive Africa’s economic and social transformation from within and to radically intensify job creation in Africa. Though I have never met or spoken to any of the winners, I am confident that due to the rigorous criteria and selection process, these entrepreneurs are Africa’s hope for the future.

“I will continue to invest my experience, time, influence, and resources to see them succeed. I am embarking on this journey with these entrepreneurs hopeful and inspired.”

The TEEP is a $100 million initiative to discover and support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next 10 years, with a target, according to the TEF, “of creating one million new jobs and $10 billion in additional revenues in the process.”

On his part, the Director of Entrepreneurship of TEF, Parminder Vir, who was visibly excited about the quantity and quality of the applicants, reiterated the foundation’s commitment to ensuring the growth of budding businesses in the continent.

She said: “The high quantity and quality of applicants we have received is testament to the brilliant ideas and incredible talent that exists in abundance across Africa.

“The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme will give structure and support to these African entrepreneurs to develop themselves and to grow their businesses. Through TEEP, the ripple effects of the long-term investments in a new generation of Africapitalists will be felt throughout the continent.”

Meanwhile, Elumelu advised unsuccessful applicants, who were not selected, not to give up on their dreams. He urged them to continue developing themselves, and their business ideas, pointing out that perseverance is one of the key attributes of a successful entrepreneur.

In selecting the final winners, TEF appointed Accenture, a management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company, as an independent review consultant to thoroughly evaluate each application based on selection criteria approved by the TEEP selection committee. The criteria included: feasibility of the business idea, market opportunity, financial understanding, and scalability, leadership potential and entrepreneurial skills.