Tony Elumelu Foundation plans global coalition as it releases $5,000 grant to 1,104 African entrepreneurs

Tony Elumelu Foundation plans global coalition as it releases $5,000 grant to 1,104 African entrepreneurs

No fewer than 1,104 entrepreneurs will receive $5,000 grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

They were selected as beneficiaries of the grant in the 10-year flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.

Apart from the non-refundable $5,000 grant, they will also receive mentorship and training in the course of the year to boost their businesses.

This is as the foundation is considering a coalition of global entrepreneurs that will touch more lives, prioritise young Africans, as well as be able to expand the number of entrepreneurs that is impacted by the foundation.

The 1,104 beneficiaries who are described as the 10th cohort, were selected from the over 150,000 applications received from all 54 countries in Africa, after a rigorous and transparent process carried out by Ernst & Young.

Speaking at the announcement of the 10th cohort, the founder and chairman of TEF, Tony Elumelu, in his keynote address at the event in Lagos on Friday, noted that over the past 10 years since the programme was launched, it had been able to empower African entrepreneurs, drive poverty eradication and catalyse job creation across all 54 African countries.

Revealing that the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme had been launched by his family’s desire to democratise luck, Elumelu, who is also the chairman of United Bank for Africa Group, said, “We believe in spreading luck, we believe in democratizing luck, we believe in prosperity, and we think that the easiest way to spread prosperity in Africa is by identifying our young ones, encouraging them and helping them to start their own businesses. This is why we have done this.

“Till date, over 20,000 young men and women from across Africa have received over $100 million in support of their program. We are happy to see our young ones progressing. We are happy that what we started alone as Tony Elumelu foundation will have been able to identify and partner with other global institutions.

“So, today is a day of impact, a day of gratitude, and most importantly, a day of reflection for me because God has been kind in so many ways. My family and I do what we do, not from the abundance of wealth, but just a realisation that poverty anywhere is a threat to us everywhere, and that we cannot live alone in prosperity. So, I’m happy that today, we continue to spread that prosperity- not just in Nigeria, not just in our family, but in all 54 African countries. I am indeed happy that in our lifetime, we are able to impact the next generation.”

He also spoke on the achievements of the past years, saying, “We track how the beneficiaries are succeeding and how they are impacting humanity, society, and their communities.

‘They have generated over $1.2 billion in revenue in their businesses. All have not succeeded, but we did tell ourselves from the onset that it is not about 100 per cent success.

“Even if 40, 50 per cent of our beneficiaries succeed, let us through them help to eradicate poverty, but more importantly, show others, because we are trying to crowd in others into this space of entrepreneurship.

“We’re trying to encourage other successful Africans and global institutions and citizens that in the 21st century, there is a better way to develop Africa than just aid.”

The TEF founder also announced that the foundation is aspiring to create a bigger coalition for African entrepreneurs, as the foundation’s programme could only accept a limited number of people.

“We aspire to magnify our scale and impact; we want to do more. And we are thinking of forming a coalition of African entrepreneurs that will touch more lives.

“We are thinking of launching a coalition, a global coalition, to prioritise young Africans.”

While answering question on the grant and coalition plan, Elemelu said it was his dream to have over 100,000 beneficiary in the future “instead of 1,000”

Also speaking at the event, Co-Founder of TEF, Awele Elumelu, said, “To today’s 10th cohorts, I want to say as you embark on the next phase of your journey, know that you’re a part of a network of entrepreneurs, a big network of entrepreneurs. I want to say that you have all our support here. All of us here, we’re here to support you, to cheer you, to celebrate you, to pray for you, as the chairman has very nicely said.

“But to those who were not selected, let me also assure you that your journey is far from over.”

Since its launch in 2015, the foundation has disbursed $100 million directly to young African entrepreneurs, catalysing the creation of over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs and making substantial contributions to Africa’s economic development.

The beneficiaries have also been able to generate revenue of more than $2.5 billion over the period.

Additionally, the foundation’s digital entrepreneurship-support platform, Reconnect, has extended capacity building support, advisory services, and market linkages to over 1.5 million African.

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