The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) on Friday splashed $15.25 million on 3,050 start-up businesses for its 2019 entrepreneurial incubation programme.
Beneficiaries are drawn from the 54 African countries and they are to get $5,000 (N1.8 million) take off capital
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the 3,050 TEF entrepreneurs, the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari called for greater women participation, especially those of northern extraction, to latch on the golden opportunities provided by the foundation to build a glorious future for themselves, their families and the nation at large.
She described the TEF as a noble one that identifies, breeds and nurtures entrepreneurs whose impact can be felt on the global scene.
He hailed the Chairman of TEF, Mr Tony Elumelu to have conceived the idea of setting up the scheme 10 years ago.
She said: It’s good to have set aside $100 million in the fund for the 10,000 beneficiaries in Africa in 10 years.
TEF will foster great economic growth in Africa. It will support growing African businesses as it provides capital and human resources to run various ventures.
“Africa entrepreneurs must play a key role in advancing the continent.
On our part, we are active stakeholders. The Office of the wife of the President is that of advocacy and to help strengthen accountability for peace and development of Nigeria. “It also helps to tackle mother and child mortality among others. There’s a progressive increase in women participation in TEF. 41% of the 2019 beneficiaries are women and I hope the same can be said for the cabinet.
“I encourage northern Nigerian women to apply because it is a strong platform for greatness,” she said.
Earlier in his address, the founder of TEF, Mr Tony Elumelu, said over 2,400 Nigerians have benefitted from the programme since inception.
While saying the beneficiaries have good testimonies to share, he, however, called on President Buhari to beam his searchlight on the power sector with the aim of dismantling all impediments that have perennially robbed Nigerians of steady power supply.
Also speaking at the event, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of TEF, Mrs Parminder Vir, said over 500 million people and corporations have registered on foundation’s platform.
She added that TEF began the empowerment scheme in 2015, though the foundation itself started in 2010.
She said 216,000 applications were received in this year’s programme.
“We subjected them to thorough scrutiny. Each of them passed through the highest level of quality assurance, details, tests, etc
“We engaged reputable firm, Accenture to help out get the best 1,000 applications. Our partners provided the funds for the balance of 2,050 beneficiaries to make the 3,050 people we have this year,” she noted.
The incoming Chief Executive Officer, Ms Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, in her remarks said $25 million have so far been shared to 5,000 African entrepreneurs since 2015.
She added that more establishments have partnered with TEF to touch the lives of more Africans.
“This year, we are joined by African Development Bank (AfDB) that shared $5 million for 1,000 people; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided funds, Anambra State, Botswana and the rest of them,” she stated.