Tanzania, Africa young entrepreneurs jostle for seed capital

09Jan 2020
The Guardian
Tanzania, Africa young entrepreneurs jostle for seed capital

THE Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has opened the 2020 entrepreneurship programme, which empowers young entrepreneurs from Zambia and the rest of the continent with seed capital.

TEF chief executive officer Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

The US$100 million project, which is a 10-year financial empowerment programme launched by Nigerian philanthropist Tony Elumelu, provides US$10 million annually to unlock Africa’s entrepreneurial potential.

About 77 Zambian entrepreneurs were last year awarded seed capital out of the over 3,000 beneficiaries from across the continent.

TEF communications manager Tiwa Medubi said in a statement yesterday that the entrepreneurship programme is open to start-up entrepreneurs, with innovative business ideas or businesses that have been in existence for less than three years in any sector from across Africa. “The programme implements Mr Elumelu’s Africapitalism philosophy, which positions the private sector as the catalyst for African economic transformation, and an investment approach that values the creation of both social and economic wealth,” Ms Medubi said.

She said as part of the TEF 10th year anniversary, the foundation is expected to announce further enhancements to the programme, providing additional benefits to Africa’s rapidly growing youth demographic.

Ms Medubi said the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme will this year emphasise a personalised entrepreneurship journey for every applicant and opening the platform to ensure a higher number of people trained, amplifying the programme’s impact and reach.

Ten years ago, Mr Elumelu developed the programme although disbursement of funds started in 2015.

In just five years, the programme has empowered over 9,000 entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, with training, mentorship and seed funding.

Speaking at the launch of the 2020 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, TEF chief executive officer Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said the transformation of Africa begins with empowering young African entrepreneurs.

Ms Ugochukwu said with the recent enhancements made to the programme and growing list of partners, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is significantly increasing its impact across the continent.

“We encourage all start-up African entrepreneurs across the 54 African countries to apply for the programme, as we continue to empower the very best ideas that will create the much-needed employment and revenue on the continent,” he said.