March 23, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
As the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme announced its 2018 entrepreneurship programme selection yesterday, March 22nd in Lagos, Nigeria, six Sierra Leoneans from different fields of entrepreneurship have been selected to receive skills training, mentoring and access to seed capital funding to boost their business ideas in the country.
The selected Sierra Leoneans include Al-Imam Mustapha Sanusi, who is engaged in agri-business farming; Fadja Djiou Barry, commercial and retail; Martin Kallie, energy/power generation; Mary Kadie Lokoh, agri-business farming; Mohamed Barrie, fashion; and Sahr Emmanuel Joseph, waste management.
It could be recalled that in 2017 another set of six Sierra Leoneans – Abdulsalam Kamara, manufacturing; Bockarie Sama Banya, commercial and retail; Bridgetta Audrey Modupeh Amoateng, agriculture (agri-business, farming); Dominic Andrew Boima, agriculture (agri-business, farming); Henry Orlando Joseph Tucker, agriculture (agri-business, farming); and Martin Kailie, energy and power. They are now contributing immensely to job creation and boosting the economy of the country.
In January 2018 the Foundation opened applications for the forth cohort of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), with a further 1,000 entrepreneurs to be selected to join the 2018 edition of the programme.
According to a press release from Lagos, Nigeria, dated 22nd March, more than 150,000 Africans from 114 countries worldwide applied to join the 4th cycle of The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s (TEF) 10-year, $100 million TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and that the Foundation announced the African entrepreneurs with the most innovative, high-potential business ideas.
The release stated that the 2018 cohort includes an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection of 1,000 and gives thanks to: a $1,000,000 partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria (the North East where the Boko Haram scourge is felt and the Niger Delta region which suffers environmental degradation from oil spillage), a $200,000 agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan-African entrepreneurs; and a $50,000 partnership with Indorama to support 10 Nigerians.
According to TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, who also doubles as the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc Chairman, the number and quality of applicants, 151,000 in total, was outstanding and illustrates the strength and depth of entrepreneurial promise and commitment on the continent.
“The Selection is never easy, and we profoundly regret that we cannot help all. Our partnerships with the Red Cross, UNDP and Indorama, alongside ongoing discussions with other international organisations, reflect the growing global recognition of what we have known all along – that entrepreneurship is the most effective path to sustainable development on our continent and our Programme is the model to follow,” he said.
However, in 2018 there is a near 50-50 split between male and female applications, reflecting the entrepreneurial ambition of Africa’s women, while agriculture is the leading sector among selected entrepreneurs at 30.5%, followed by technology (10.5%) and Education and training (9%).
Also, Chief Executive Officer of TEF, Parminder Vir, OBE, said over the next nine months the entrepreneurs will receive online training and mentoring and will use the skills acquired to develop business plans prior to receiving five thousand United States Dollars ($5,000) in seed capital.
She furthered that this will bring TEF’s total Programme investment so far to $15 million in direct funding to entrepreneurs and $5.8 million in Programme and technology development and operations.
She concluded that their beneficiaries have created more than 55,000 jobs and counting, and will convene participants from across all of Africa’s 54 countries to Lagos in the coming October 2018 for the TEF Forum, which is known as the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is the flagship entrepreneurship programme of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded by the entrepreneur, respected investor and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu.
The pan-African programme is inspired by the Founder’s inclusive economic philosophy of Africapitalism, based on the belief that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential, commitment to drive African economic growth through the fostering of African entrepreneurship, mission to institutionalise luck and create an environment where home-grown pan-African companies in various sectors can flourish.
The vision of the Foundation is to establish the pre-eminent pan-African entrepreneurship programme and create 10,000 startups across Africa within the next 10 years to generate significant employment and wealth.
TEEP was launched in December, 2014 by the Tony Elumelu Foundation with the target of creating one million new jobs, and US$10 billion in additional revenues for African economies. The Foundation pledged to invest US$100 million during the course of the 10 year initiative.