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Tony Elumelu Foundation and GIZ partner to Empower Young Entrepreneurs across East and West Africa


The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is partnering with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German Government’s Agency for International Cooperation.

GIZ will support the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to empower 210 young African entrepreneurs, focusing specifically on female entrepreneurs and tech-enabled businesses. The Entrepreneurship Programme of TEF was launched in 2015, having supported more than 4,000 entrepreneurs with seed capital pan-African wide. The announcement is coming ahead of the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs – The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum – which will hold on October 25, 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria. The Forum will celebrate the 2018 cohort of the Foundation’s beneficiaries.

The joint partnership will equip more African entrepreneurs with the skills needed to build strong and sustainable businesses, while providing them with access to seed funding. The partnership will be implemented by Make-IT in Africa, a programme GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Make-IT already works in close collaboration with more than 20 corporate and financing partners, social enterprises, hubs, and networks to support an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs, to enable better access to finance, markets, and skills.

By signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 8th August 2018, GIZ and TEF strengthened the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support African entrepreneurs. GIZ and TEF share the common understanding that young companies, especially from the technology sector, have the potential to radically transform the business landscape in Africa and are key drivers of sustainable development.

Parminder Vir, OBE, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, said: “The partnership with GIZ ensures that more entrepreneurs across Africa will access seed capital, as well as the world-class TEF proprietary online training and mentoring programme. Since the launch of the programme, we have received over 300,000 applications, and we are actively looking at leveraging our success, so we can greatly exceed our own commitment to 1,000 entrepreneurs annually over 10 years.”

Dr. Thomas Kirsch, the Country Director of GIZ Nigeria, said:” Employment is the key measure for socio-economic development in Nigeria. Entrepreneurs and start-ups have the capacity to facilitate job creation in a way that wasn’t imaginable ten years ago. We’ve entered a new era where initiatives by the German government, such as Make-IT in Africa, could be instrumental in empowering youth by addressing the skills gap and connecting them to markets, corporates, and financing opportunities. We are encouraged by this partnership with TEF and the opportunity to create lasting impact in the lives of many.”

The list of beneficiaries are published on the Foundation’s website.

The TEF-GIZ partnership is based on:

A commitment of EUR 1 million by the German Government (BMZ), via the Make IT Programme, to empower 210 young and/or female tech entrepreneurs in the sectors of agriculture, energy, and health across Africa through capacity development training.

  • Leveraging the ground-breaking capacity building, training, and mentoring approach of the Tony Elumelu Foundation through its TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, which enables entrepreneurs to acquire management skills and establish long-term partnerships with peers, business and financing partners.
  • The growth of a network of African and European start-ups that enables sharing of lessons learnt, new partnerships, and linkages to entrepreneurial “ecosystems” in Africa.
  • The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is the $ 100 million flagship programme of the Foundation. It identified 10,000 African start-ups and entrepreneurs with ideas that have the potential to transform the African continent in the last 10 years. For TEF, the goal is to invest in the generation of at least 1,000,000 new jobs and to contribute $ 10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa. The Foundation’s investment and commitment to advancing entrepreneurship is predicated on the belief that Africa’s entrepreneurs hold the key to unlocking the potential of the continent and to facilitating its transformation.

Other developmental organisations that have partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), L’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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