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Applications open for TEF entrepreneurship programme

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Applications for the fifth Entrepreneurship cycle of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme 2019 will open on January 1.According to the Foundation, applications will be accepted on the digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs, TEFConnect – www.tefconnect.com and 1 000 selected applications will join the current 4 470 beneficiaries of the Programme.

Since 2015, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme – the only African-funded entrepreneurial catalyst of its kind – has empowered 4 470 African entrepreneurs, with seed capital of $5 000 each; twelve weeks of accelerated online business training; access to experienced mentors; and membership of Africa’s largest entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Beneficiaries of the Programme have been profiled in global media, including the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list. They have attracted the attention of investors, as well as been recipients of awards such as the Google Impact Challenge and the Chivas’ “The Venture” Award for Social Entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurship Programme has also facilitated exchanges between African entrepreneurs and local and global public sector leaders, investors and development partners, raising their business profiles, scaling their opportunities, showcasing their innovation and identifying ways to further strengthen the business environment in Africa.

In June 2018, the Foundation convened a forum with President Emmanuel Macron of France and young African entrepreneurs. In October 2018, the Foundation was proud to have President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya address the gathering of young African entrepreneurs at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Foundation’s investment, impact 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 facilitating the transformation of Africa.

With this objective, the Tony Elumelu Foundation launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, its US$100 million flagship programme to identify over a period of 10 years, 10 000 African startups and entrepreneurs, with ideas that have the potential to transform the African continent. Its goal is to invest in businesses that together can generate at least one million new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa.

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is open to citizens and legal residents of all African countries, who run businesses based in Africa that are less than three years old. Business ideas that are yet to launch are also encouraged.

One local entrepreneur, also a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme 2018 Fellow, Omphitlhetse Botlhole told Business Trends that the Tony Elumelu Foundation has real results and has provided a lifeline for many. “Borrowing a leaf from the continental scheme can certainly benefit local youth and other disadvantaged groups,” Botlhole said, adding that “I feel that our people would have more to gain from less direct reliance on the government if they were to take up such opportunities.”

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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