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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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LEA partners with Ministry for youth businesses

Keikantse Lesemela

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Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, (MYESCD) has partnered with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to create a pool of competitive and sustainable youth businesses.

Through the partnership, business management and mentoring services will be provided to the Youth Development Fund (YDF) beneficiaries to enhance their efficiency and capacity to manage and sustain their businesses.Speaking during the signing ceremony MYESCD Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said the ministry has always had a challenge with lack of expertise mentorship to young entrepreneurs so partnership with LEA will assist the ministry to effectively deliver its mandate.

“Training and mentorship has been a challenge for us because our officers mostly do not have business background so this partnership will address this,” said Ramokate.In his remarks, LEA Chief Executive, Racious Moatshe said the partnership is paramount to achieve government initiative of creating a pool of competitive and sustainable Small Medium and Micro Enterprises that will significantly contribute towards the diversification of the economy. It is also expected to meaningfully impact local communities through employment creation and import substitution.

“We want to ensure that youth businesses are run properly with proper funding. Both institutions will jointly conduct research that has direct impact on scaling up of youth owned businesses in Botswana,” said Moatshe.

He said over 2 500 youth businesses have received LEA intervention. “We want to see more youth businesses succeed”. Meanwhile, the ministry has been urged to come up with a better strategy to effectively deliver the YDF program and produce successful youth businesses. According to the Auditor General’s report for the past year, Pulane Letebele pointed out that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory because of lack of proper monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries, financed from the Fund on a 50 percent grant 50 percent loan basis.

The Auditor General complained that two years after the Public Accounts Committee called for a stream lining of the Fund’s accounting system to allow for proper debtor accounting, nothing has been done.The 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed that all five regions that had been selected for audits during the year show that the fund has failed. “In Maun about P20 million was disbursed in loans and only P400 000 has been paid while P640 000 was the total of arrears covering the entire period from inception of the fund in 2009,” reads the report.

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Ex Debswana boss counsels graduates

Keikantse Lesemela

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Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) on Saturday, former Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said graduates and citizens need to position themselves to develop a clear technology and innovation strategy and roadmap that would enable the nation’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy.

“We need to create an entrepreneurship centre that would bring industry and the college together, to form a powerful force that would co-create breakthrough solutions capable of diversifying our country’s economy,” said Bonyongo.

The college released 645 graduates from different fields on Saturday. Since inception 22 years ago over 11 000 professionals graduated from the school. Bonyongo highlighted that graduates should approach problems creatively to provide sustainable, scalable and exponential solutions that could yield tremendous economic value.

“I urge all graduates to leverage technology and innovation to deliver practical solutions to society’s most urgent problems. Use your qualifications to seize opportunities to do what you love and enjoy,” said Bonyongo.

BAC Executive Director, Serty Leburu said between 2017 and 2018 they have experienced growth in the number of new students both full time and part time. “This mark of quality has inspired us to spread our wings and expand into other markets through various collaboration models,” she said.

Leburu revealed that they are currently in the process to introduce online learning to effectively support part-time students as well as provide some programs digitally. The college has partnered with several international universities including, University of Derby, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sunderland and SAP University Alliance as well as Microsoft and the Cisco Academy.

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