Tony Elumelu Foundation Empowers 20,000 African Entrepreneurs

TEF announces 10th cohort of entrepreneurs, doubling support to 20,000, contributing to Africa’s economic development.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading philanthropy empowering young African entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries, has announced the successful entrepreneurs in its tenth selection for the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

This new cohort brings to 20,000, the number of young African entrepreneurs who have received funding, mentoring, and capacity-building support from the Foundation, double the initial commitment. The Tony Elumelu Foundation has disbursed US$100,000,000 directly to young African entrepreneurs, who have created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs, contributing significantly to Africa’s economic growth and development. 45% of these beneficiaries are women, reiterating the Foundation’s commitment to gender inclusion and equity.

Past entrepreneurs selected across Africa include:

  • Stella Sigana, founder of Alternative Waste Technologies from Kenya, produces fuel briquettes by converting organic and charcoal waste from slum settlements, and dedicates a portion of the revenues to providing education, skills training, and job placement for adolescent girls and young women aged 18-24. Since her selection, Stella has created 12 jobs, generated over $79,000 in revenue, and recycled over 500 tons of waste into fuel briquettes for cooking. Her business model has also empowered hundreds of women entrepreneurs in slum settlements in Kenya, enabling them to build businesses by selling her products directly to their communities, thus significantly increasing household income and wellbeing.
  • Vital Sounouvou from Benin is the founder of Exportunity, an e-commerce platform that promotes export opportunities for Africans by connecting producers with traders. Through Exportunity, Sounouvou has engaged over 750 clients, and built a database of 85,000 companies trading with Africa. He has employed 32 people.
  • Nora Chaynane, a Moroccan entrepreneur, and founder of Shine Space, a socio-educational initiative aimed at bridging the knowledge gap and guiding students toward the right career path, helps young Moroccans develop technical and interpersonal skills beyond school curriculum requirements. Through Shine Space, Nora has upskilled and capacitised over 2,500 young Moroccans.

Since inception in 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has pioneered an innovative approach to seeding, capacitising and networking young entrepreneurs across Africa. Drawing directly from Founder Tony Elumelu’s entrepreneurial journey, the Foundation democratises luck, spreads opportunity, in a sector agnostic approach, and has developed a bespoke infrastructure that reaches every country in Africa. The Foundation is driven by our Founder’s philosophy of Africapitalism, which advocates that the private sector, particularly entrepreneurs, must play the pivotal role in Africa’s development.

The robust ability of the Foundation to reach entrepreneurs across geographies and sectors has enabled it to conduct innovative partnerships with the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the US Government via the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the French Development Agency (AFD), the German Development Finance Institution (DEG), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the African Development Bank (AfDB), Sèmè City Development Agency, and Google, with bespoke programmes including targeting female empowerment and growth in fragile states. Building on its existing partnership with Sèmè City Development Agency, the Tony Elumelu Foundation will fund an additional 100 young entrepreneurs from Benin Republic in 2024.

Tony O. Elumelu shared: “As we mark a decade of impact, I am immensely proud of the incredible journey we have embarked on. Our entrepreneurs represent the driving force behind Africa’s economic transformation, and their resilience, determination, and innovation continue to inspire us all. The future of our continent is brighter because of their efforts.”

As part of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s commitment to support young Africans, the following ongoing opportunities are currently open for applications from young entrepreneurs across Africa on TEFConnect:

  • Women Entrepreneurship For Africa (WE4A), a partnership between the European Union, GIZ and TEF
  • Aguka Entrepreneurship Programme, a partnership between UNDP and TEF in Rwanda

African entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply to these initiatives to receive training, mentorship, access to networks, and funding.

More News