BUJUMBURA March 26th (ABP) – The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the main leading African philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, announced on Friday March 22, 2019, that 3,050 African entrepreneurs from 54 countries were selected as part of the fifth round of its US $ 100 million entrepreneurship program. The announcement was made at the Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja, Nigeria, following a presentation of the selection process by Accenture Development Partners.

Indeed, this year, more than 216,000 applications have been received, a clear increase compared to 151,000 applications last year (2018). Nearly 90,000 of them were submitted by women entrepreneurs, an increase of 45%, which reflects the Foundation’s strategy to achieve greater gender balance.

The selected entrepreneurs will each receive a non-repayable start-up capital of $ 5,000, access to mentors and a 12-week business training program, directly focused on the needs of African entrepreneurs. Those entrepreneurs will meet in Abuja from July 26 to July 27, 2019 at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.

“Every year, we face an almost impossible task: to select 1,000 entrepreneurs, among hundreds of thousands who apply. Our entrepreneurs are thirsty for change. We know that we are only scratching the surface, given the depth of entrepreneurial talent that all of us, African governments, business and society, must mobilize to transform our economies and livelihoods. We must unite to empower them and accelerate the change we want on the continent,” said TEF promoter Tony O. Elumelu, who celebrated his birthday on the same day.

In her occasional speech, Ms. Aisha Buhari, Wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, commended the impact of the program on the continent, instructing selected entrepreneurs to contribute to the promotion and development of the African continent.

“Indeed, I am confident that these entrepreneurs of the Tony Elumelu Foundation will inspire deep trust and immense value, not only for Nigeria, but for the entire continent,” she said.

“The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s entrepreneurship program has empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in the first five years of its 10-year program,” said the TEF new Director General, Ms. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu. “On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the 10-year program, this year’s selection includes 2,050 entrepreneurs, supported by the Foundation’s partners, in addition to the annual commitment of 1,000 beneficiaries of the Foundation, bringing to 7,720 as the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation in the first five years.

Last year, we launched TEFConnect, the digital network platform for African entrepreneurs open to all, to further decentralize access to opportunities for the thousands of entrepreneurs who cannot directly benefit from our entrepreneurship program. It also reflects our commitment to empowering our entrepreneurs and our belief that entrepreneurship is the key to truly unlocking the continent’s potential,” she added.

The growing number of partners of the Foundation includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Republic of Benin (Sèmè City), the Government of Anambra State, Indorama, the Government of Botswana and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

For this 5th edition, 48 Burundian entrepreneurs were selected, which shows a clear improvement over the 2018 edition where only 5 entrepreneurs were selected.

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