Tony Elumelu Foundation funds 20,000 entrepreneurs across Africa in 10yrs


By Juliet ETEFE

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), a philanthropy empowering young Africans, has funded 20,000 entrepreneurs across the continent over the past 10 years.

Earlier this month, the Tony Elumelu Foundation announced the selection of 1,200 African entrepreneurs from 54 countries as the tenth cohort of its flagship entrepreneurship programme. With this announcement, the foundation has now supported a total of 20,000 entrepreneurs, spanning across its ten cohorts.

The latest cohort consists of 53 percent from Nigeria, 10 percent from Benin Republic and 37 percent from other African countries. Regarding gender distribution, 65 percent are males and 35 percent are females. Each candidate has been awarded a grant of US$5,000 from the programme.

The foundation noted that it has directly disbursed US$100million to young African entrepreneurs, resulting in the creation of over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs. This substantial contribution has significantly bolstered Africa’s economic growth and development.

Forty-five of these beneficiaries are women, reiterating the foundation’s commitment to gender inclusion and equity.

The foundation has also provided capacity-building support, advisory services and market linkages to over 1.5 million Africans through its digital entrepreneurship-support platform, TEFConnect.

Founder, Tony Elumelu, in an address at a ceremony held in Nigeria to announce the 10th cohort, noted that the easiest way to spread prosperity in Africa is to identify and invest in the youthful population and their business creation potentials.

He expressed excitement about empowering budding businesses not only within one country but also across all 54 countries, positively impacting lives across the continent.

He explained that beneficiaries would undergo monitoring with progress tracked, aiming to create jobs and support young entrepreneurs who contribute to socio-economic growth.

“As we mark a decade of impact, I am immensely proud of the incredible journey we have embarked. Our entrepreneurs represent the driving force behind Africa’s economic transformation; and their resilience, determination and innovation continue to inspire us all. The future of our continent is brighter because of their efforts,” he said.

More of these interventions, he added, will aid the transformation of Africa and value addition on the continent.

“Let us prioritise our young ones in Africa! We cannot succeed without supporting our young ones and creating an environment for them to succeed,” he stated.

Co-founder of TEF, Dr. Awele V. Elumelu OFR, pledged support for the 10th cohort, urging them to stay resilient, work hard and also be patient.

Since its establishment in 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has led the way in pioneering an innovative approach to supporting, training and networking young entrepreneurs across Africa.

Drawing directly from Founder Tony Elumelu’s entrepreneurial journey, the foundation democratises luck, spreads opportunity in a sector-agnostic approach, and has developed a bespoke infrastructure that reaches every country in Africa.

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