25 Rwandan firms to feature in Tony Elumelu entrepreneurship programme

The initiative is funded by Nigerian business magnet, Tony Elumelu. File.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Nigerian-based philanthropy, has announced 3,050 selected applicants to the 5th edition of its annual entrepreneurship programme.

Twenty-five Rwandans are among the selected participants.

The Rwandan entrepreneurs are, among others, involved in agriculture, tourism, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare or education.

Agriculture, with 48 per cent, represents the largest part of selected Rwandan entrepreneurs.

The programme gives access to entrepreneurs a chance to take a twelve-week online intensive training in business development, as well as up to $5,000 non-refundable seed capital.

 The programme directly funds 1,000 young African entrepreneurs with outstanding enterprises and business ideas.

This year’s selection includes 2,050 entrepreneurs, supported by the Foundation’s partners in addition to the annual commitment, bringing the total number of entrepreneurs empowered by the Foundation to date to 7,520.

The Foundation’s growing list of partners includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the African Development Bank (AfDB), among others.

According to a statement from the Foundation, over 216,000 applications were received, up from last year’s 151,000.

Nearly 90,000 were submitted by female entrepreneurs, an increase of 45 per cent, illustrating the Foundation’s strategy to achieve greater gender balance.

“Every year, we face an almost impossible task – to select 1,000 entrepreneurs, from the hundreds of thousands that apply. Our entrepreneurs are hungry to effect change,” Tony Elumelu said while announcing the beneficiaries in Abuja.

He added: “We see the depth of entrepreneurial talent, that all of us – government, business indeed African society, must harness to transform our economies and livelihoods. We must rally together to empower them and accelerate the change we want on the continent”.

On July 26 – 27, select entrepreneurs will gather at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, which is arguably the largest annual gathering of African entrepreneurs. It will take place out of Abuja for the first time.

Last year, the Foundation launched TEFConnect – a digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs– to further democratise the access to opportunities for the thousands of entrepreneurs that cannot directly benefit from the programme.