The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) have launched a youth entrepreneurship programme for the Sahel region of Africa. The TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship programme will train, mentor and financially support 100,000 young entrepreneurs in Africa in 10 years. The goal is to contribute to the overall target to generate at least 10 million new jobs and $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.
The TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship Programme is a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to empower 100,000 additional entrepreneurs over 10 years from seven Sahel African countries: Northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun, Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso. The partnership will target young Africans in under-served communities.
The Programme leverages the tried and validated approach to philanthropy on the continent pioneered by the Tony Eluemlu Foundation. It prioritises and positions entrepreneurship as the key enabler to catalyse the economic development of the African continent.
Many may have questions if this is different from the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, so to answer that question, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme is the flagship Programme of the Tony Elumelu Foundation—the leading philanthropy in Africa empowering African entrepreneurs.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is the $100 million commitment by the Elumelu family to mentor, train and financially support 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years. The Programme is currently in the 5thfifth year of its commitment and has so far empowered over 7,500 entrepreneurs across 54 African countries.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme provides the inspiration for the development of the TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship Programme which scales up the impact of the Foundation to empower an additional 100,000 entrepreneurs specifically from seven countries in Africa’s Sahel region.
African entrepreneurs will gain non-refundable seed capital, access to a 12-week business training and mentoring. They will also receive visibility and numerous business networking opportunities.
Speaking on the partnership, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa stated that: “We see Sahel as a land of many opportunities and investing in the youth is a pre-condition to stabilizing the region.
The youth should be at the heart of any development agenda. We need to invest in their potential, talent, energy and enthusiasm and create the opportunity for them to fully realize their dreams. That is why UNDP is co-creating development solutions by investing in entrepreneurship models to promote inclusive growth. Partnership with the Sahelian youth entrepreneur is a catalyst for transformation and sustainable development. We call on other private sector entities to join the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support young entrepreneurs”.
On her part, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu said: “Our partnership with UNDP is welcome and timely – it will directly assist entrepreneurial success in a number of fragile areas and is a testament to the validated approach to philanthropy we have pioneered. Africa needs partners that do not only believe in the potential of its private sector to champion economic development, but backs this with commitment. With this agreement, UNDP has proven to be a true partner to Africa’s entrepreneurs and has demonstrated its commitment to work with us to scale up the impact of this initiative and eliminate poverty on the continent”.
The TEF-UNDP programme is fully aligned with the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat. Launched in April at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative aims to concretely reach 1 million African youth from across the continent with opportunities and interventions in the key areas of Education, Entrepreneurship, Employment and Engagement (4Es) to accelerate Africa’s socio-economic development.
The Chairperson of the AUC speaking at the launch of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative said: “The1 Million by 2021 initiative is an African call to action thataims to ensure that no young persons aged 15-35 is left behind. The initiative adopts a Pan-African outlook and facilitates strategic partnerships to open up new opportunities for young people on the continent…The AU has the expertise, convening power and continental reach at our disposal but that
alone cannot guarantee success. We need commitment from our public and private sector partners to achieve success. In the face of our overwhelming task, a collective effort is necessary to stand and succeed. In Africa, we say, ‘Broomsticks bound together are difficult to break. This is the approach that I implore us to take”.
Through the TEF-UNDP partnership, the selected applicants will each receive a maximum of $5,000 non-refundable seed capital, access to mentors, a 12-week business training and networking opportunities. They will join the previously announced 3,051 beneficiaries of the 2019 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.
The applications will be run on TEFConnect, the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs and forms will be available in any of the branches of the United Bank for Africa (UBA). Following the end of the application window, an initial longlist of 5,500 applicants will be selected to undergo the 12-week business training. After the training, the final shortlist of 2,000 applicants will be announced to join the previous 2019 TEF cohort.
Please see FAQs below
What are the criteria for applying?
- You must be an African entrepreneur residing in any of the listed countries: Northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun, Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso
- Your business must not be more than 3years in existence. Potential businesses at the idea stage are encouraged.
When is the application deadline for the 2019 application window?
The deadline for the 2019 applications is August 5, 2019.
Following the end of the application window, an initial long list of 5,500 applicants will be selected to undergo the 12-week business training. After the training, the final shortlist of 2,000 applicants will be announced to join the previous 2019 TEF cohort.
Where can entrepreneurs apply?
The applications will be run on TEFConnect, the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs.
Interested entrepreneurs can apply on www.tefconnect.comor visit the nearest UBA branch in any of the listed countries.
Where you can find out more information?