The Tony Elumelu Foundation yesterday announced the launch of a US$100 million entrepreneurship programme, aimed at creating 10,000 businesses across the African continent.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEFEP) is also intended to create at least one million new jobs, and to contribute US$10 billion per year to Africa’s economy.
TEFEP is the first initiative of its kind to be launched by an African philanthropic organization and the largest African sourced philanthropic gift, targeting the entrepreneurial space in the West Africa-sub region.
“The opportunity and challenge in Africa is to scale–in our people, our resources and our horizons. In my business and charitable journeys, I have always sought ways to help inspire a generation across our continent. This programme brings together my own entrepreneurial experience and my fundamental belief that entrepreneurs –women and men across Africa—will lead Africa’s development and transform our futures,” said Tony O. Elumelu, founder and executive director of the foundation.
“The TEFEP will offer a structured, multi-year opportunity to access funding, knowledge and perhaps most importantly mentoring, on a scale that is unprecedented in Africa—it is our opportunity to empower a generation,” he said.
The Founder said the new programme is backed by “a commitment to giving startups and entrepreneurs with a dream the funds, the mentorship and the network, to become the next generation of global business titans from Africa.”
He said the 1,000 startups will be selected from applicants invited continent-wide, with the successful applicants to participate in a comprehensive training programme, which is designed to prepare the entrepreneurs to build successful businesses capable of adding value.
The programme will include seed capital funding, a 12 week business skills course, mentorship, an entrepreneurship bootcamp, participation in the Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum, among other benefits.
“Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone to African development and the key to local value creation in Africa. I am determined to ensure that Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs has the platform they need to turn their entrepreneurial aspirations into sustainable businesses that will drive economic growth and job creation across Africa,” Elumelu said.
Tony O. Elumelu, CON, was born, raised and educated in Africa and has been responsible for creating businesses across the continent in sectors critical to Africa’s economic development.
In 2012 he was awarded and named a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) for his service in promoting private enterprise.
In 2010, he founded Heirs Holdings, an African investment holding company, with investments in financial services, power generation, oil and gas, agribusiness, real estate and hospitality.
In the same year, he established the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropy, dedicated to catalyzing entrepreneurship across Africa.
In his early career, Mr. Elumelu turned the financially distressed Standard Trust Bank (STB) into a top-five financial services player in Nigeria.
In 2005, he led the largest merger in the banking sector in sub-Saharan Africa, between STB and United Bank for Africa (UBA). Today, UBA operates in 19 African countries, as well as New York, London and Paris.
In 2013, Mr. Elumelu received the Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the Africa-America Institute Awards. He was also named African Business Icon at the 2013 African Business Awards.