Tony Elumelu Foundation selects 3,050 entrepreneurs from 216,000 applications for 2019 Programme

(L-R) Incoming CEO, TEF Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu; Outgoing CEO, Parminder Vir; Israel Ambassador to Nigeria, Shalom Ben-Shoshan; Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF), Tony Elumelu; Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari; TEF Trustee, Awele Elumelu; Deputy Ambassador of Kenya to Nigeria, Yvonne Khamati and Chief Ebitimi Banigo of Okpoama Kingdom after the announcement of the 2019 African entrepreneurs of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in Abuja, Nigeria 

3,050 African entrepreneurs have been selected for 2019’s Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship Programme. The African philanthropy foundation now in its 5th cycle of its $100million initiative unlike previous years will have an additional 2,050 participating entrepreneurs on the programme through strategic partnerships.

The programme this year received over 200,000 applications from across 54 African countries 150,000 more than 2018. 90,000 of the applicants were female entrepreneurs representing a 45 percent increase in women participation.

Across East Africa, at least 327 entrepreneurs have been selected for the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, almost double the number selected last year. (Kenya 130, Uganda 105, Rwanda 53, Tanzania 30, Burundi 8 and South Sudan 1)

Speaking during the announcement in Abuja, Nigeria, TEF founder Tony Elumelu said, “Our entrepreneurs are hungry to effect change. We know we are only scratching the surface, we see the depth of entrepreneurial talent, that all of us – government, business indeed African society, must harness to transform our economies and livelihoods.”

The selected Entrepreneurs will each receive non-refundable $5,000 of seed capital, access to mentors and a 12-week business training programme, directly focused on the needs of African entrepreneurs.

“The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme has successfully empowered 7,520 entrepreneurs in its first five years of the 10- year programme”, added incoming TEF CEO Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu.

With a growing need for economic growth across the continent the foundation has attracted partners including International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal Republic of Benin (Seme City), the Anambra State Government, Indorama, the Government of Botswana and the African Development Bank (AfDB). These partners have seen the number of entrepreneurs accepted for this year’s programme increased by 2050 to 3050. The TEF Programme has previously selected a little of 1000 entrepreneurs each year.

In attendance at the announcement of the 2019 entrepreneurs was Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari, who commended the Programme’s impact and contribution to the economic advancement of the African continent.
2019’s finalists will gather in Nigeria yet again from July 26 – 27 and take part in the annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.

To help African entrepreneurs connect better, the foundation known for its African economic philanthropy in 2018 launched a digital networking platform, to give entrepreneurs including those that have not directly benefited from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programe, access to opportunities.

For a list of the selected 2019 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and information on our applicants, please visit

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