By John Agbala
The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is pleased to announce the selection of the first 1,000 African entrepreneurs for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). TEEP is a $100 million initiative to discover and support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade, with a target of creating one million new jobs and $10 billion in additional revenues in the process.
Over 20,000 African entrepreneurs from 52 countries applied to the programme, representing the creativity and potential on display across the continent. The initial 1,000 selected for the 2015 class are a remarkable group of entrepreneurs who are a testament to the ability of Africa’s own entrepreneurs to drive Africa’s growth and development.
Speaking on the desired impact of the programme, Founder, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON, commented: “The selection of these 1000 entrepreneurs brings 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 winners represent 52 African countries and territories, as well as a multitude of value adding sectors ranging from agriculture to education to fashion and ICT. The top five countries in terms of numbers of winners are Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana. All five African regions – North, East, Southern, Central and West Africa are represented, as well as all major language blocs – Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, and Arabic Africa. More than anything else, they epitomise the opportunity and promise of Africa.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation appointed Accenture as an independent review consultant to thoroughly evaluate each application based on selection criteria approved by the TEEP Selection Committee. Following Accenture’s independent review, a meeting of the TEEP Selection Committee, made up of successful entrepreneurs and development experts from across Africa, was held today in Lagos to approve the final list of winners.
The 1000 selected entrepreneurs will continue through the programme cycle over the next nine months. This cycle includes an intensive online training curriculum, mentoring, and participation in a two-day entrepreneurship boot-camp and the Elumelu
Entrepreneurship Forum. The over 19,000 entrepreneurs who were not selected will be invited to join the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Network where they will be able to further hone their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills.
Parminder Vir OBE, Director of Entrepreneurship at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, 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.”