Never has there been such an explosive change of narrative about the African condition, a change that involves the African entrepreneur making the necessary strides for continental integration and development.

“Africapitalism”— a term pioneered by the Group Board Chair of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Tony O. Elumelu—describes perfectly the phenomenon involving the redefinition of capitalism by the African and for the African.

It is, therefore, no surprise that the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) has since 2010, mentored and steered brilliant entrepreneurs all over the continent towards the path of success and legacy.

With the traditional notion of philanthropy revolving around doling out money and gifts with no real long-term goal, the TEF has subverted this narrow view by expanding it to the creation of cogent opportunities for the needy but deserving.

The empowerment of the African entrepreneur is and always will be the foundation’s main objective, which was made crystal-clear by the launch of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2015.

Arguably the foundation’s signature initiative, it aims to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs by 2025 against the backdrop of a $100 million commitment by Tony Elumelu. With footprints in all 54 countries on the continent, the foundation thus far has mentored 15,847 entrepreneurs through its capacity-building Entrepreneurship Programmes.

Various entrepreneurs have won the $5,000 grant from the initiative, and Ghana can also boast of many an entrepreneur whose life has been impacted.

Case in point: Nana Amoako-Anin—the founder of Bliss Yoga Accra.

Her outfit is one of the few full-service yoga studios in Ghana and West Africa, and 6 years after she won the grant in 2016, her business has grown in diverse ways such as the recruitment of more practitioners in the wellness community to bolster her yoga teaching base. Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced her to shift to online sessions, she remains confident in her business’ growth projections.

She is a textbook example of the inherent genius in tapping into a niche market and steadily making it mainstream. Focusing on a relative niche facet of the wellness industry might seem to some as foolhardy, but as Amoako-Anin has proven, all it takes is an innovative streak and diligence for the “Africapitalist” to contribute to Africa’s economic development.

In 2021, the Tony Elumelu Foundation disbursed $24.75 million to 5000 African entrepreneurs across Africa for its 2021 Entrepreneurship Programme. Out of this, 132 entrepreneurs were selected from Ghana.

The Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme remains one of the largest private-sector responses to driving the economic recovery of African youth, women, and SMEs given the effects of the covid19 pandemic across Africa. 

Across Africa, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme beneficiaries are starting and growing trailblasing businesses that have collectively created over 400,000 direct and indirect jobs.

With the 2022 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in the offing, now is the time for innovative entrepreneurs to apply for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. All it takes is the zeal to cement one’s position as an Africapitalist who desires to facilitate the continent’s economic advancement. Whether big or small, never has there been a better time to seize the day.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is open to entrepreneurs across Africa; new start-ups and existing young businesses, operating in any sector. Prospective applicants should apply now on the digital networking hub for African entrepreneurs, www.tefconnect.com.