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This blog post covers everything you need to know on how to apply for the Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship program under the Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF). The Tony Elumelu Foundation is the leading philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, driving poverty eradication, catalyzing job creation across all 54 African countries, and ensuring inclusive economic empowerment.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) annually commits a whopping $100 million to empower 10,000 talented African entrepreneurs.

The programme not only gives seed capital but also provides training, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and make an impact in Africa.

How does the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) entrepreneurship program work?

The TEF training curriculum has been designed to segment entrepreneurs based on demonstrated capability and knowledge.

The training has been tailored to educate and capacities you in starting or growing your business to overcome the challenges faced by entrepreneurs across the African continent.

Who can apply for a TEF Grant?

  • The programme is open to all citizens and legal residents of any one of the 54 African countries. The proposed business must be registered and operate in Africa.
  • Have a legal business registration or license to operate in their country. This legitimizes the business.
  • Possess the ability to create economic opportunities and jobs for others through your business. This is a key objective of the programme.
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must not be considered minors in their country of residence.
  • Applicants must own and run a for-profit Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) that has been in existence for at least 1 year. Both new startups and young existing businesses qualify to apply.

Who is not eligible to apply for the TEF entrepreneurship program

  • Religious bodies, places of worship, faith-based charities, churches, mosques, temples, or other faith-based organizations are not qualified or eligible to apply for this programme. The business and purpose should be secular.
  • Trading Companies: Applicants who are pure importers, exporters, distributors or brokers of goods and services are not eligible to apply. Keep in mind that trading companies do not align with the overarching objectives of the program even if they are registered formally.
  • Research Institutions: The programme does not accept applications from research institutions or individuals affiliated with them in any capacity. Only individual business owners are eligible.
  • TEF Audit Partners and their Immediate Family Members.
  • The Promoter’s consultants and agents (and employees and Immediate Family Members of such employees where the consultants and agents are entities) who are involved in the creation and administration of this programme.
  • Applications by TEF Alumni or their Business Partner.
  • Employees of companies affiliated with the Tony Elumelu Foundation who have been involved in the creation or administration of the Programme and their Immediate Family Members.
  • Applications by TEF Alumni or their Business Partner.
  • Applications made using methods such as a macro, script, using automated devices or processors or other forms of digital tools to gain an unfair advantage.
  • Applications by persons disqualified under any previous TEF programme.
  • Incomplete and incorrect applications.
  • Applications which contain illegal or unethical Businesses or Business Ideas.

How to be eligible for the TEF  entrepreneurship program

  • Interested applicants must already have existing innovative businesses in the gestation stage of 0 to 3 years or have a viable business idea. The business or business idea must also be profitable.
  • The applicant must be an African startup entrepreneur who has a business or business idea based in Africa.
  • Applicants with businesses will be counted as valid as long as they meet the criteria irrespective of the sector.
  • Applicants with Businesses or those with viable business ideas must make sure the business can create employment.

Selection Process and Beneficiaries

1. Following the closure of applications, shortlisted candidates will be notified and will have to undergo business training.

2. Selected candidates will have to prepare and submit a viable business plan.

3. Entrepreneurs with the best performance during the 12 weeks of training will undergo a pitching phase in the 54 African countries.

4. After the pitching phase, the Top entrepreneurs will receive a non-refundable seed capital of $5,000 (five thousand dollars)

5. The beneficiaries will then be announced at the TEF Forum and have their success pasted on the TEFconnect website.

Are there fees for application for the TEF entrepreneurship program?

No. The Tony Elumelu Foundation does not charge any applicants a fee for applying to the programme.

The application process for TEF Entrepreneurship Program

1. Visit TEF’s official website

Visit the official TEF website to access the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship programme application portal. Take time to thoroughly review the website and understand the programme objectives, categories, and process before starting your application. This will help you tailor your application appropriately.

2. Apply

Once you’ve done your research and are ready to apply, simply click on the “Apply” tab at the top of the TEF website. This is where you’ll select the specific programme category you wish to apply for from the dropdown menu. These categories include:

  • The Flagship Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program
  • The TEF Women Entrepreneurship Programme
  • The campus ambassadors’ initiative
  • The Tony Elumelu Foundation National Business Plan Competition

3. Log in/Sign in

If you already have an existing account on the TEFConnect platform from applying previously, you can simply log in with your credentials to start the new application process.

However, if you are a first-time applicant to the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme, you will need to click on the “Register” button and create a new account. Only use a valid email address.

TEFConnect will send a verification link to this email to activate your account.

4. Select Application Category

Choose the region, country, and sector that your business operates in. Pick the category that best represents your business operations, industry, and market segment. Take your time and make sure you choose the right one.

Properly choosing the category that aligns with your work will help optimize your application for the most relevant consideration by the selection committee.

5. Fill Required Fields And Upload Documents

At this stage, you need to start filling in the various required fields that gather information about you, your background, business overview, financial projections, and more. There will be several required sections and fields to complete here with your details, and so on.

Next, upload clear, legible electronic copies of supporting documents needed for the application, such as your business registration certificate or permit, comprehensive business plan, resumes/CVs of the business founders, bank account information, and a short one-minute video pitch.

6. Describe Your Business Idea

This is arguably the most critical section of the entire application process because it requires you to convincingly and thoroughly describe your business model, target customers, revenue model, job creation potential, financial projections, and exactly how you will use the funding if awarded.

In essence, you need to articulate your overall business viability, growth prospects, purpose, and the concrete benefits it aims to deliver. This is your chance to sell your business idea and vision to the evaluators, so ensure you put your best foot forward.

Note: All applications must be submitted ONLINE through the application platform of the tefconnect.net You must complete an application form by answering a series of mandatory questions. If your company is a partnership, only one nominated person from the business or the partnership may join the programme. You must have consent from all partners and have an equal or majority share to participate.