In a bid to provide access to capital to entrepreneurs, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has said its intervention is targeting about 3000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with a special focus on female entrepreneurs.
This is even as the foundation disclosed that over 1,000 entrepreneurs from the 2020 cohort would be empowered through the Foundation’s entrepreneurship programme this year.
Tts Chief Executive Officer, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, stated this during the unveiling of the TEF 2021 Programme/Application portal in Lagos at the weekend. Ugochukwu noted that shortly after the close of the 2020 application portal, the foundation could not continue with the programme due to restrictions in various economies owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to postpone it to 2021.
She said the African continent is critical to global recovery and this is why TEF is partnering with the European Union (EU) to fund and train 2,400 women entrepreneurs across Africa through increased finance and venture capital investment worth €20 million.
“Now is the time to scale and empower African entrepreneurs with funding and this is because we do not want to lose the gains of the previous years. This is why we want to teach them the importance of resilience, identify business ideas and aid businesses to solve problems”, Ugochukwu said.
According to her, the application portal is an automated one and training for successful applicants would be segmented into three training categories while adding that the foundation is targeting 50 per cent female participation.
“The truth is that our economies are heavily dependent on SMEs and what we are doing is to bring the largest responses to the pandemic and one area to bridging the gap is access to capital. We have seen the impact of the pandemic on FX, tourism and others and we are urging African governments to put development and capital in the hands of entrepreneurs as this will stimulate the economy and help the economy climb out of recession so we believe that Africa’s future is in the hands of African entrepreneurs”, the TEF boss stated.
She thereafter reiterated that the foundation intends to live up to its promise of empowering 10,000 entrepreneurs while adding that $77 billion out of the $100 billion earmarked for entrepreneurs have been spent since the inception of the initiative in 2015.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is Africa’s leading philanthropy foundation empowering African entrepreneurs with the most innovative business ideas across the continent. Boasting of 9,038 beneficiaries from across 54 African countries to date, Successful startups that pass through the program receive business training, mentorship, non-refundable $5000 in seed capital, and a chance to network globally.