BUJUMBURA March 20th (ABP) – The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading African philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs will announce, on March 22, 2019,  the names of applicants selected for the 2019 edition of its Entrepreneurship Program.

The event is the fifth edition of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Program. It will take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, as revealed in a press release issued on Monday March 18, 2019 from Lagos (Nigeria).

Indeed, the TEF opens each year its portal of applications to the African entrepreneurs with business projects and embryonic businesses of less than three years.

As part of its $ 100 million entrepreneurship program, the Foundation annually empowers 1,000 entrepreneurs with $ 5,000 in non-repayable seed money, access to mentors, a 12-week training program and opportunities to promote their businesses to an international audience. All applicants have access to TEFConnect, Africa’s digital entrepreneurship hub, which provides access to networks, training, other sources of financing and business opportunities.

For a large number of entrepreneurs to benefit from its proven entrepreneurship program, the Foundation launched in 2018 the TEFConnect, a digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs. The platform, which currently has more than 400,000 users, provides entrepreneurs with the access to network, training and forming business partnerships to expand their business beyond physical boundaries.

In the first four years since the launch of its entrepreneurship program, the Foundation has directly empowered 4,000 African entrepreneurs and 470 other entrepreneurs indirectly, with the support of Foundation partners. The Foundation recently appointed Ms. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu as the Director General, from April 1st. Ms. Ugochukwu succeeds Parminder Vir, OBE, who will continue to contribute with her experience and expertise as a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.

This new Director General emphasized the importance of partnerships in reaching out to additional entrepreneurs, aside from the annual commitment of 1,000 Foundation entrepreneurs.

“Every year, we see a significant increase in the number of applications. Our implementing partner, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP), is reviewing and finalizing the applications. More than 215,000 entrepreneurs from 54 African countries applied this year against 151,000 last year, with an increase in women’s participation from 62,000 in 2018 to 90,000 in 2019. These growing numbers reflect a burning desire of the African entrepreneur to develop our continent, and we must urgently convert this passion into viable businesses to ensure the development of our continent,” she said.

“Our program has developed a robust mechanism to channel capital effectively and efficiently to those who can deploy it in local communities with the greatest impact. We are willing to work with partners to evolve the platform and processes we have created. Empowering African entrepreneurs must be a shared responsibility to create economic prosperity for all,” she continued to say.

“We have been working with the Tony Elumelu Foundation since the launch of its entrepreneurship program. In 2015, in the first edition of the program, we reviewed 20,000 applications for the Foundation, and this year, we reviewed more than 215,000 applications. The diversity and speed with which applications have evolved over the last four years have been incredible. We congratulate the Tony Elumelu Foundation for its commitment to the transparency of the program and ADP is proud to be part of this pan-African project,” said Mr. Osato Noah, ADP West Africa Manager.

According to the same statement, the selection announcement ceremony will also include a meeting of former Nigerian beneficiaries of the TEF program, as well as an interactive dialogue with the TEF Promoter, Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, CON.

For the 2018 edition, only five Burundians were lucky to be selected. These are Mr. Alain Jupin Manirampaye and Jean Paul Ndayishimiye who are active in agriculture (Agri-business, Farming), Ms. Anna Karibuhoye operating in Healthcare, Mr. Philippe Mukamariza in Education & Training and finally Mr. Edgar Muhamyangabo who operates in information and communication technologies (ICTs). This figure shows that Burundi is still behind compared with other African countries. The cause is to be sought; perhaps, the lack of the Internet culture, since the calls for applications are made on that global computer network.

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