Billionaire Elumelu’s youth entrepreneurship programme starts

TONY Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has announced the fourth cycle of its entrepreneurship programme, which offers seed capital to young entrepreneurs-businesses across Africa.

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

The TEF is a brainchild of Nigerian banker and billionaire and United Bank for Africa Plc chairman Tony Elumelu.

Last year’s cycle saw 17 young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs, drawn from various sectors of the economy getting seed capital.

“When we launched the TEF programme and committed $100 million to empowering Africa’s entrepreneurs, I knew we would create impact, but I never imagined it would be impact of this magnitude. We have unleashed a movement of African entrepreneurs — a force so strong, so inspiring that I am confident they will collectively transform Africa. We need Africa’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to come learn, grow their business and build our continent,” Elumelu said in a statement.

The programme which commenced in 2015 has committed $100 million towards empowering up to 10 000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next 10 years.

At least 1 000 entrepreneurs will be selected across Africa based on viability of their idea market opportunity, financial understanding, scalability and entrepreneurial skills demonstrated in the application.

Under the programme entrepreneurs would undergo a 12-week enterprise toolkit training course, online mentoring, meet ups and then get seed capital funding of $5 000 non-returnable and access to a $5 000 convertible loan.

TEF chief executive officer, Parminder Vir Obe said 3 000 entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the funding, were growing their businesses.

“We encourage women; French and Portuguese speakers to apply, our 3 000 alumni are already growing their businesses and improving lives. If you have a transformational business or an idea we have an opportunity for you,” she said.

To apply for the scheme, the business must be based in Africa, be for profit, must be 0-3 years old, and applicants must at least be 18 years old and legal residents or citizens of an African country.

This comes as the Zimbabwe government has announced measures in this year’s budget to promote entrepreneurship in the country.

The Budget appropriated $3,6 million towards the phased establishment of additional vocational training centres, as well as $1,2 million for re-tooling of existing workshops.

The centres will establish the framework for empowering youths, through training in various vocations, which will form the basis for entrepreneurship and self-employment, critical for economic development.

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