Twenty-three local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to sharpen their business management skills as well as secure investment capital thanks to the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) 2017 Entrepreneurship Programme.
The group is part of the 1,000 African entrepreneurs selected for the third cohort of the 10-year, $100 million initiative, the organisation said in a statement. The entrepreneurs will, over the next nine months, be trained and mentored by selected industry leaders. They are expected to use the skills acquired to develop a business plan to qualify for up to $10,000 (about Rwf8.4 million) in seed capital, the statement added.
Of the 23 Rwandan representatives, the majority (nine) are agricultural entrepreneurs. They are Aime Nshizirunggu, Andrew Mugabe, Esther Batamuriza, Innocent Mutabazi, Justin Niyigena, Mohamed Muvunnyi, Noel Nizeyimana, Pacifique Nshimiyimana, and Salwa Uwabasindi. Blandine Umuziranenge, Josiane Irakiza and Thierry Mutwewingabo are ICT-related businesses, while Dominique Uwase Alonga, Fabrise Ujeneza Mbabazi, Uwimbabazi Sifa, Delphine Murekatete, and Etienne Nyambizi have ventures in the education and training sector.
Others are Wellars Ndayambaje and Nehemie Yesashimwe who presented ideas in manufacturing; Alice Igiraneza is in waste management; Agathe Dusabe and Yvette Mariza Mukamuhoza in energy, and Theophile Hategekimana in the transport sector. Over 93,000 entrepreneurs, from 55 countries and territories in Africa, applied. This was more than twice those that applied in 2016 applications. Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon produced the most applicants. The programme was founded by Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu with an aim of creating ‘Africapitalism’ that positions Africa’s private sector as the catalysts for the economic and social development of the continent.
TEF CEO Parminder Vir, OBE, said the rising interest in the programme shows its “growing transformative power”. “We recently sampled 600 of our existing 2,000 entrepreneurs to analyse the programme’s impact and have been impressed by their robustness, particularly on job-creation. We have also partnered with Microsoft, GE, and ECOWAS to provide further benefits to our entrepreneurs,” Vir said in the statement released over the weekend.
The programme will culminate in the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum that brings together entrepreneurs, mentors and business and political leaders in Lagos, Nigeria in October. Last year, 20 Rwandan start-up operators participated in the programme, and three of them, Yvette Ishimwe, Denyse Uwineza and Selemani Nyirurugo, attended the boot camp in Lagos.