How Nigerian investor plans to develop a startup continent

Posted on February 9th, 2015

How Nigerian investor plans to develop a startup continent

An ambitious programme by Nigerian businessman to develop 10,000 start-ups from across Africa over the next decade is gaining momentum across the continent, with hopeful entrepreneurs signing up in numbers.

The The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) is a $100 million annual programme of training, funding and mentoring, designed to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. It was launched by Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian economist and investor.

TEEP is the first initiative of its kind to be launched by an African philanthropic organisation and is the largest African sourced philanthropic gift, targeting the entrepreneurial space.

Commitment to Africapitalism

At the launch of TEEP in December 2014, Elumelu reiterated his personal commitment to empowering African entrepreneurship.

“This programme is far more than a funding initiative or networking opportunity,” he said on his website. “It is an act of faith in our entrepreneurs and our young people to transform our continent; to be the engine for the creation of both economic and social wealth, putting into practice what I have called Africapitalism.”

In November last year, Forbes magazine listed Elumelu number 26 on the list of Africa’s 50 Richest people with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.

How it works

According to the TEEP website, the $100 million programme, announced at the Foundation’s headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, will identify and support 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the continent each year over the next decade.

The 10,000 start-ups and young businesses selected from across Africa will ultimately create one million new jobs and add $10 billion in annual revenues to Africa’s economy.

TEEP is open to citizens and legal residents of all 54 African countries. It opened its application portal for entries on January 1st 2015 and will continue to accept applications until March 1 2015.

All African opportunities 

According to director of entrepreneurship of the Foundation, Parminder Vir, quoted on the organisation’s website, they have been enthused by the level of interest and excitement from entrepreneurs across Africa since the entrepreneurship programme was announced.

“We are looking forward to reviewing the entries and identifying the first cohort of the continent’s next generation of business leaders,” Vir said. The Foundation said the first cohort of successful applicants from across Africa will be announced on March 22nd.

“Whether you’re in Lagos, Accra, Johannesburg, Nairobi or Dakar, Africa is buzzing with entrepreneurs who need a platform that enables them to take their business or idea to the next level and this programme has been designed to provide that mechanism,” Vir added.

In order to submit an application, entrepreneurs must complete the online application form here.