The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is calling on all aspiring African entrepreneurs seeking to turn their business dreams into reality to apply to the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme (TEF2024), for the opportunity to receive a non-returnable seed capital of $5,000.

Tony O. Elumelu, Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and Dr. Awele Elumelu, TEF Trustee surrounded by Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs. (PRNewsfoto/The Tony Elumelu Foundation)


Since its inception in 2010, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has been at the forefront of empowering African entrepreneurs, and since the launch of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme, the Foundation has partnered with numerous organisations to support entrepreneurship across the continent. These partnerships include collaborations with the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sémé City, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and many others. Partnerships with regional and international organisations pave the way for collaboration and strategic networking, enhancing market access for entrepreneurs across Africa. 

In 2021 alone, the Tony Elumelu Foundation disbursed an impressive $24.75 million to 5,000 African entrepreneurs, making it one of the largest private sector responses to the economic challenges faced by African youth, women, and SMEs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, beneficiaries of the programme have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs, contributing significantly to the economic recovery and development of the continent. 


The impact of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme goes beyond statistics; it transforms lives and businesses.  

Here are a few testimonials from entrepreneurs who have experienced the transformative power of the programme: 

  1. Paul Depooter Kabeya 
  • Business Name:  KPD Technology Pty Ltd
  • Country: South Africa 
  • Impact Area: Upskilling and Women’s Economic Empowerment


Paul Depooter was passionate about impacting his community and how he could bring a positive way of attaining financial freedom to the most vulnerable in South Africa. 

“I wanted to change the mindset of the African, by not looking at jobs as the only way of surviving but to believe in their own ability in order to let their talents express themselves into manufacturing of garment and fashion accessories made in Africa by Africans.” 

Paul believes the TEF program did not only bring a financial boost to his business but has been a game changer in terms of personal development. Through the garment and fashion accessories he makes in South Africa, he has empowered 20 women who, through their businesses, can use their skills to make a difference in their respective communities in South Africa.   

“Through the TEF Entrepreneurship program, networking has been the most valuable opportunity I have explored in this journey. I have been able to meet with different entrepreneurs learning from them to see things differently.” 

Paul believes the only way to enable gender balance in his society is to upskill the women and empower them to become independent. Through his fashion line, he produced not only garments but tailors and female fashion designers. 

2. Freddie Shava 

  • Business Name:  African Heritage Clothing 
  • Country: Ghana 
  • Impact Area: Poverty alleviation for young people through training and employment 


My vision was to create wealth and social impact for Africa which l could not do while full time employed. l could only earn a living for myself and family on a full-time job but without impacting the wider community. l measure success on social impact-profitability model. First impact then profit later”.

So far, the enterprise has impacted 120 youths, trained and released to start their own business. They currently employ 20 workers directly. They service a client base of over 120 corporate clients buying from them through local production for import substitution.  Also, they have generated revenues of $600,000 over a six-year period. In line with their business model, they have created more impact than profitability, but are on course to wealth creation now with the business more stable and readying itself for expansion to expand the market to AfCFTA. Currently, they are serving the local market in Ghana and their strategy is to go for the intra-Africa business back riding on AfCFTA. 

Apply Now for TEF2024

“We (AHC) have created a name for ourselves as a leading producer of uniforms in fulfilment of our tagline “The Uniform People”. We are known for quality and efficiency. On the back of this our business comes through referrals (indirect opportunities) from satisfied customers without much advertising. The bulk of our business comes from indirect opportunities which builds our success.” 

Freddie Shava has attributed the successes of his business to the training and mentoring he received on the programme. 

“The training was a game-changer for me as it equipped me with the necessary skills to survive the business turbulence for example the Covid-19. Without the training and the grace of God l would not have survived Covid-19. Training and mentorship is important for upstarts. The USD5,000 was a bonus to support my start-up. Training first – capital later. This matches my business model of impact first – profitability later. TEF really put me on the right path and changed my life. Thank you TEF. Thank you, boss Tony.” 

3. Mechi Amaah

  • Business Name:  Black and Natural Cosmetics
  • Country: Cameroon
  • Impact Area: Production of organic and eco-friendly cosmetics


After losing her father in his early life, Mechi Amaah had to look after pigs and sell them under her mother’s supervision to provide for their necessities. Upon getting to the university, she did business selling various things to make ends meet and decided to settle on manufacturing and selling hair products solely.

Mechi founded Black and Natural Cosmetics, a 100% organic cosmetic manufacturing company aimed to encourage the consumption of organic hair cosmetics, initially and subsequently, skin cosmetics. To join environmental protection and sustainable development, Black and Natural Cosmetics derives all its ingredients from plants, some of which are organically processed. 

Mechi Amaah was about expanding his business when COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and everywhere was under lockdown. However, the seed capital she got from the foundation enabled her to diversify and employ 2 more workers, thereby saving her business from liquidation. Coupled with the training received on the programme on business management, she has been able to take her business to another level and created a high level of impact in her community. 

“The training the program offered, helped me to keep tabs on my mission, vison and most importantly, my finances. Ever since the program, I can proudly say the books of my businesses are in order.” 

Since getting the grant, she has employed 4 more staff to help with her business and now has 7 employees working directly under her. Also, her annual revenue has increased by 70%, with her opening two other companies and awards to her name.  

“To give back to my community, i have created jobs and am currently working on an accelerator program to train young girls with vocational training skills that can enable them gain employment or start up their own business. This will go a long way to reduce unemployment in my community and country.” 

Apply Now for TEF2024

These testimonials showcase the tangible and lasting impact of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, demonstrating its effectiveness in empowering entrepreneurs across Africa. As the Programme considers its future, it is poised to continue changing lives and catalysing economic growth. Be part of this transformative journey—apply now for the 2024 Entrepreneurship Programme and unlock the potential within you! 


Looking ahead, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is set to enhance its commitment to empowering African entrepreneurs. In a groundbreaking move, the foundation has announced its Coalition for African Entrepreneurs. This initiative aims to support 100,000 young African entrepreneurs, including 50,000 women, by 2033. The focus will be on fragile states, women’s entrepreneurship, and green entrepreneurship. 

The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Coalition for African Entrepreneurs invites collaboration from development agencies, the private sector, philanthropic organisations, and governments, reinforcing its role as a leading philanthropy dedicated to eradicating poverty, catalysing job creation, and increasing women’s economic empowerment. 


To assess the Programme’s impact, expert researchers focused on its contribution to local entrepreneurship ecosystems across Africa and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The analysis demonstrated that the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme was highly effective at providing multi-sector support to diverse groups of new entrepreneurs, addressing barriers such as funding and knowledge. Findings suggest that TEF and its partners are successfully providing inclusive, multi-sector support that maximizes the potential of African entrepreneurs, regardless of sector. 

As the Programme considers its future, there is a renewed focus on sustainability and policy advocacy. The emphasis is on finding the best ways to allocate funding, ensuring the continued success of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and its pivotal role in empowering the next generation of African entrepreneurs. 


As the flagship TEF Entrepreneurship Programme nears the end of its 10-year lifespan, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the organization’s remarkable accomplishments. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, building on this success and its robust delivery process, will deepen its commitment to reach across sectors and geographies to identify and support young African entrepreneurs, targeting female empowerment and growth in fragile states, through its soon-to-be-launched Coalition for African Entrepreneurs. 

Apply now and be part of a transformative journey towards entrepreneurial success! 

Empowering African Entrepreneurs: Apply now for $5000 (2024 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme)
Empowering African Entrepreneurs: Apply now for $5000 (2024 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme)