Tony Elumelu Foundation Opens Applications for the 2021 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme



Tony Elumelu Foundation 2021 Application


The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) —  an African private-sector-led philanthropy dedicated to empowering African entrepreneurs has opened it's portal (www.tefconnect.com) to accept applications for the 2021 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme on Friday, January 1, 2021.

This was made known in a statement via the official website of the foundation.  Applications are to be made through TEFConnect, the digital networking hub for the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, created by the Foundation.



This year’s intervention prioritises the economic recovery of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and young African entrepreneurs, following the Covid-19 disruption to economic activities.

To address the unique challenges arising from the pandemic, lift millions out of poverty and create sustainable employment across the continent, the foundation’s entrepreneurship programme will empower 1,000 young African entrepreneurs, selected from the 2020 cohort. The foundation will also open applications to an additional 2,400 young entrepreneurs in 2021 in collaboration with global partners.

Successful TEF applicants receive world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital up to $5,000, and global networking opportunities. The programme is open to entrepreneurs across Africa, both new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector.

CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu stated: “The Tony Elumelu Foundation now more than ever is demonstrating our commitment to unleashing the potential of young African entrepreneurs, the key to Africa’s long-term economic transformation.

“The pandemic has created challenges across the continent, but we know that with the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s tried and tested Programme, we can execute the largest Covid-19 economic recovery plan for African SMEs and break the cycle of poverty in Africa.”

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)  Entrepreneurship Programme is open to entrepreneurs from across Africa, either with new startup ideas or existing businesses of less than 3 years existence, operating in any sector. 

According to the release,  successful applicants will join the over 9,000 current beneficiaries, from 54 African countries, and receive business training, mentoring, a non-refundable $5,000 of seed capital and global networking opportunities.

In 2019, the Foundation received about 216,000 applications, with 42% coming from women entrepreneurs, from every country on the continent.

The Programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 young African entrepreneurs. The goal is to create millions of jobs and the revenue required for the sustainable development of the continent, implementing the philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector as the growth engine for Africa and emphasises the importance of creating social and economic wealth.

According to the Foundation's 2018 Impact Report, 70% of the total number of businesses in its alumni network were still operational two years after benefitting from the Programme. The report also identified an increase of 189% revenue generated and 197% increase in the number of additional jobs created by beneficiaries post-graduation from the Programme, as well as a 100% commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The programme, which launched in 2015 to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years, is now entering its seventh year and has empowered to date over 9,000 young African entrepreneurs from 54 African countries.


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