The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) was founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who is passionate about Africa’s economic development. The Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneur programme is a $100 million commitment by the Elumelu family to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10 year period. The goal is to create at least 1 million jobs and contribute over 1 billion revenue to the African economy. So far, the foundation has empowered 9,631 entrepreneurs.
HOW THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORKS.
Before January 2020 all applications are submitted online through the application platform tefconnect.com whereby questions are answered and submitted followed by a confirmation email of receipt within one working day. The application period always last from 1 January to midnight on 1 march of every year with 1,000 places available annually for all applicants. After the selection process, the successful applicants will be notified on the 22 of March via the email address designated in the application, it will also be posted on the TEF website.
The next stage after the selection is the 12 week training programme where all successful applicants will be matched with a Mentor from the start of the programme to the end of the year. The Mentor’s role is to use their vast business knowledge and experience to help applicants in completing the 12 week start up enterprise toolkit programme tackle real life business obstacles and help improve their business along the way. After the programme, candidates who successfully complete the programme by meeting stipulated requirements and deadlines will be eligible for funding. There are two stages of funding available to entrepreneurs.
First stage is seed capital funding of $5,000 (based on the official Central Bank of Nigeria exchange rate) a non returnable investment. Second stage is capital returnable investment- entrepreneurs will apply and be considered for this based on the viability of their business. The funds will be wired directly into the entrepreneurs business account. Personal accounts are not permissible. For those in UBA countries, the business account must be opened with UBA.
Recently, TEF announced improvements to its flagship programme on the 15 of January 2020. The improvements took effect from 1 January 2020 which is one of the announcements heralding the 10th
anniversary of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. The improvements comprises of;
Leveraging technology, that is, applicants will now receive instant feedback on their application which will inform them of their success and the permission to go to the nest stage.
Secondly, those selected for the preceding stage will be receiving online business training and if the progress in their training tasks, they will receive mentorship tailored to their business needs.
Thirdly, a pitching competition will be organised in June to determine the final beneficiaries.
Lastly, the final beneficiaries who will receive the $5000 SEED Capital will be announced in 3rd quarter 2020. Seed capital disbursements will follow after due diligence.
Now I want to take you through the application process for this year.
Application Process of Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme 2020
The 2020 application process is in different categories; the personal details category, business details category and the assessment category.
The first step is the personal details category where applicants are expected to fill in their personal details including submitting a scanned I.D card and passport, without the scanned I.D card, one cannot proceed to the next category.
The second stage after successfully filling the personal details is the business details, here, applicants are expected to fill in how old their business is, the start-idea, impact of the business idea to their community, business address and location, there is also space for next of kin’s name, address, email and phone number. The mentor’s details too will be provided.
The third stage after the business details has been successfully input is the assessment category. In this category, applicants are expected to answer 67 questions in 45 minutes; some of these questions are personal, technical and business oriented. Scaling through the questions successfully will determine applicant’s ticket to the next stage. Applicant’s will be informed immediately of their results and be assigned to one of the three categories created by TEF which are; Start-up or Greenhorn, Innovator and Disruptor. Once applicants are assigned to one of the categories, it implies the applicant will proceed to the next stage.
The fourth stage is the training which will take off in March 2020, it is an online training organised by TEF to match applicants with mentors, so they can be trained accordingly to help them in their business journeys. During the training which will last for 6 weeks, there will assessments too and mentors will notice the really committed applicants. Those who scale through the training process successfully will qualify for the next stage.
The fifth and final stage is the pitching competition, applicants are individually called upon to tell a set of judges about their various businesses and questions will be asked where necessary. Successful applicants from the pitching competition will be announced at the year event (TEF entrepreneurship forum) in July 2020. After which the disbursement process will begin.