Photograph — The Tony Elumelu Foundation

On Friday, March 22, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) will unveil the selected applicants for the 2019 cohort of the foundation’s flagship Entrepreneurship programme. The event will take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

In its fifth year now, application to the TEF is open to African entrepreneurs with businesses of less than three years old. This year, the foundation received entries from over 215,000 African entrepreneurs from across 54 African countries, up from 151,000 applications last year with an increase in female representation from 62,000 in 2018 to 90,000 in 2019. A statement from the foundation quoting the incoming CEO, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu reads “These rising figures demonstrate the burning desire of the African entrepreneur to develop our continent, and we must urgently convert this passion into viable businesses to develop our continent.” The applications then go through a selection process in accordance with the standards of the organizers, after which are screened to 1,000 entrepreneurs who will participate in the cohort. In addition, all applicants receive access to TEFConnect, Africa’s digital entrepreneurial hub, which provides access to networks, training, further capital sources and business opportunities.

TEFConnect was launched in 2018 as part of the foundation’s vision to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary entrepreneurial tool kit to help actualize their ideas. The platform currently has over 400,000 users, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to network, receive training and forge business partnerships to scale their businesses beyond physical borders. The forthcoming event will be live-streamed on the platform.

The leading African philanthropy which is committed to empowering African entrepreneurs has impacted 4,000 African entrepreneurs directly and an additional 470 entrepreneurs supported by the foundation’s partners. The TEF boasts of these achievements in just five years since launching its Entrepreneurship Programme. Through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme, the Foundation empowers 1,000 entrepreneurs annually, who receive $5,000 in non-refundable seed capital, access to mentors, a 12-week training programme and opportunities to promote their businesses to a global audience.

According to the statement, the selection announcement will also feature a Nigerian TEF Alumni Meet up, as well as an interactive dialogue with TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON.

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