The Tony Elumelu Foundation

Launched in 2015, The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is the largest African philanthropic initiative devoted to entrepreneurship and represents the foundation’s 10-year, $100 million commitment, to identify and empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs, and add $10 billion in revenues to Africa’s economy.

Tony Elumelu FoundationFrom 2010 to 2015, TEF’s past programmes focused on direct interventions like scholarships and fellowships to support future leaders. Entrepreneurs who pass through their Programme become part of a growing network of business leaders. The alumni network is comprised of all Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and beneficiaries of past programmes.

The Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize (formerly the Elumelu Legacy Prize) was an award established by Tony O. Elumelu, CON and Dr. Awele Elumelu to recognise, reward, and inspires academic excellence, in tertiary institutions across Africa. After a successful three years, the prize was discontinued from November 2015. The Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize Programme was started in 2012 to inspire and reward academic excellence and so far, have given out this award to 130 students from 16 universities across Nigeria and 3 West African Universities.

The following institutions have alumni who are recipients of the Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize: Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; Bayero University, Kano; Benue State University, Makurdi; Delta State University, Abraka; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; University of Abuja; University of Ibadan; University of Jos; University of Lagos; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Port Harcourt; Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto; Ahmadu Bello University; University of Benin and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Outside of Nigeria:  Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Kofi Annan University, Guinea; and University of Ghana, Accra are all recipients of the Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize.

The prize money distributed at undergraduate level ($1400) and doubled for those at graduate level ($2800).

While this was a successful initiative, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has since inception placed entrepreneurship at the center of all its efforts, because of its belief that entrepreneurship is the primary vehicle to achieving economic empowerment in Africa.   In line with this, in January 2015, the Tony Elumelu Foundation launched a philanthropic programme to further drive entrepreneurship across the continent, called the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme. The purpose of the programme is to achieve the following: Identify 1,000 African startups and entrepreneurs every year over the next 10 years, who have ideas with the potential to address social and economic challenges in Africa, Grow the capacity of the entrepreneurs through training, mentoring, access to relevant information and a strong alumni network; and Provide initial seed capital of $10,000 each, to catalyze these businesses and position them for growth and profitability. It has achieved significant success from the Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize, however, the scale and operation of this pan-African entrepreneurship programme has priority for the Foundation’s resources. Consequently, the Foundation has therefore streamlined its processes and efforts and is focusing resources on the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme. All recipients of the Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize will continue to be part of the Tony Elumelu Foundation network and have access to advice, resources and events held by the foundation. It hopes to inspire a new generation of students who view entrepreneurship as a viable path and a means of creating economic and social wealth.

The Elumelu Professionals Programme (formerly known as the African Market Internship Programme, AMIP), was an initiative established as part of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s commitment to the development and celebration of African business leadership.

EPP was an MBA internship program designed to improve the competitiveness of innovative small and growing African businesses, while introducing some of the world’s brightest new business management talent to the growth opportunity that African markets represent.

The programme placed students from Africa’s top business schools and students from top-tier business schools in Europe and the United States into highly structured 10-week internship programs at African companies. During their assignments, the interns built actionable knowledge and helped to facilitate high-level decision-making to contribute to the host firms’ success.

EPP matched the unique skills of each intern with the particular needs of each participating host business, to tackle the most pressing business issues identified by the management teams. This ranged from forging business strategies, marketing new products, to developing African growth strategies and more. The program was unique in bringing both African and international businesses students together, building bridges and opening horizons, for all involved. It was just one example of the Foundation’s core mission of equipping the next generation of African private sector champions for success.This programme was active from 2011 to 2014.

Launched in 2012 in collaboration with the AllWorld Network, The Tony Elumelu Foundation presented The Nigeria Fast Growth 50, representing some of the fastest growing, most dynamic fast-growth unlisted private companies in Nigeria. The Nigeria50 were selected as having demonstrated Nigeria’s potential for Entrepreneurship. Between them, these companies recorded an astounding average annual growth rate of 100 percent and created over 6000 jobs over the three-year recorded term. The Nigeria50 were published nationally and globally, giving visibility to emerging company stars. The listed companies gained global recognition, a network of growth entrepreneurs and an invitation to the AllWorld Summit at Harvard University. AllWorld rankings exist throughout the Middle East, North Africa, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey. Winners in these countries have credited their participation with positively impacting their businesses in the form of new contacts, global visibility and credibility, and attracting new sources of capital from investors. The Nigeria50 application process opened to private companies in Nigeria with revenues of 100% or more in 3 years (as at 2011).

Eligibility criteria for the Nigeria50 ranking were as follows: Minimum 3-year audited operating history with revenues/turnover of at least N80 Million/$500,000 as at 2011. Be an independent, private, non-listed, for-profit corporation or partnership or proprietorship. The company can be an independently incorporated subsidiary of a wider group, with a defined stand-alone business line. It cannot be a non-profit, holding company, franchise, bank or utility. It must have its primary location in Nigeria. The company must not be 51% or more owned by a publicly traded company or from the public sector. Smaller and younger companies can qualify as “Start-Ups to Watch” using the same application. This programme was discontinued in 2012.

Seeded and managed by The Tony Elumelu Foundation, The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund was a non-profit organization established to transform communities that had been ravaged by natural disasters, hazards and conflicts into thriving and economically sustainable communities. The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund was created out of the N2.5 billion donated by The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holdings companies and was announced at the Presidential Fundraising Dinner for the Victims Support Fund in July 2014. The Fund focused on communities such as those in the Niger Delta and Plateau state to create opportunities and empower people in affected communities, enabling them to rebuild their lives and businesses whilst instilling a sense of economic empowerment for the long term. Given the focus of the Tony Elumelu Foundation to promote entrepreneurship as the key to sustainable socio-economic development on the continent, the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund has been made nonoperational in 2015 in order to fully implement the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.

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