On this year’s Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) entrepreneurship program, a total of 113 Kenyan entrepreneurs were selected. This is up from last year’s 74 Kenyan Entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs are set to receive USD 5000 in seed capital for their ventures and intensive business training. This is only after the successful completion of the program and approval of their business plans.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation was founded by Tony Elumelu in 2015. The Nigerian billionaire and philanthropist started the foundation with an aim of investing in young Africans and to spur economic growth on the African continent.
The 2019 program saw a total of 3050 entrepreneurs selected from across 54 African countries. Only 27 startups from Northern Africa were selected for funding. The Western Africa region was leading with 1,758 startups followed by Eastern Africa with 773. Southern and Central Africa regions got 346 and 146 beneficiaries respectively.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation received 216,000 applications this year. Most of the applications came from the sub-Saharan Africa region. Around 10,170 applicants made it to the evaluation stage, from which 3,050 winners were selected.
Startups in the agricultural sector benefited the most with 26.4% getting the funding. The fashion sector came in second with 13.6% followed by retail at 9.1%. Healthcare was represented by only 3.8%. Other sectors including ICT took 7.6%, manufacturing 6.2%, media and entertainment 4.9%, professional service 4.1% and hospitality 2.6%.
Tony Elumelu Foundation received around 69.2% applications from urban areas and 30.8% from rural areas. 42% of this year’s beneficiaries are female entrepreneurs.
Since the program was started five years ago, 7,521 beneficiaries have received seed capital of $5,000 each and have access to mentoring and training.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship program is a great way in empowering young Africans to become better individuals and to believe in the beauty of their dreams. With the seed funding, a lot of young Africans can be able to sustain their businesses and even create employment for the youth in their countries. As Mr Adesina said, “African governments should shift from youth empowerment to youth investment. Lenders should start seeing young people as an asset and not a liability,”