How To Win the Tony Elumelu Foundation $5K Business Grant

How To Win the Tony Elumelu Foundation $5K Business Grant

How To Win the Tony Elumelu Foundation $5K Business Grant


Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the world economy, accounting for most businesses across nearly every nation of the world.

Most times, these SMEs grow to become larger industries and become mass employers of labour.

In Africa, SMEs provide an estimated 80 per cent of jobs across the continent, representing an important driver of the economic growth of major African countries.

Sub-Saharan Africa alone has 44 million micro, small, and medium enterprises, almost all of which are micro.

For these businesses to grow, create more jobs, and generate economic growth, they need access to capital. Fifty-one per cent of these vital businesses, however, require more funding than they can currently access.

Without reliable sources of working capital, SMEs are unable to make investments needed for growth, leading to stagnation.

Sometimes, the banks are unable to meet up with these financial obligations leading to the shutdown of these supposedly bright business ideas.

Private organizations across the continents have realized this and have stepped in to support it in one way or the other. One of these private organizations is the founder of UBA Bank in the name of Tony Elumelu.

In this article, I will guide you on how you can apply and win this yearly $5K grant.


This should serve as a guide as I do not help people with the application. I have written this article because I have won grants previously, not the TEF business grants to be specific, but I can give you tips on how grants organizations operate.

What is the Tony Elumelu Foundation and what does it do?

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), is the leading philanthropy organization with footprints across Africa all 54 African countries.

It has taken up a one-time task to empower youths and entrepreneurs in Africa with a yearly $5 non-refundable seed funding for all kinds of businesses provided they are viable and can be funded with such an amount.

African entrepreneurs with business ideas or existing businesses under 5 years are encouraged to apply now for $5000 seed capital which comes on an annual basis.

The Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme remains one of the most significant private sector responses to driving the economic recovery of youth, women and SMEs across Africa.

Why should I apply For The Tony Elumelu Foundation Business Grant?

In 2021, the Tony Elumelu Foundation disbursed USD$24.75 million to 5000 African entrepreneurs across Africa for its 2021 Entrepreneurship Programme.

The Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme remains one of the most significant private sector responses to driving the economic recovery of youth, women and SMEs across Africa. Here are some of the reasons why you should apply to this foundation.

1. You have a good Business Idea.

The first reason why you need to apply to the TEF is that you have a valid and working business idea.

Not all ideas are considered valid as the program is not inclusive of research institutions, faith-based organisations, value-adding trading companies, government contractors and businesses not located in Africa. If your business idea does not fall within these criteria, then you should apply for funding.

2. You are above 18 years old.

Another reason why you should apply is that you are an African and you are above 18 years old, as an application would not be considered for people below this age.

3. You are an African living in Africa

Lastly, another reason why you should apply is that you are an African, born and living in Africa. Are you a change agent seeking to make an impact on the African continent? then, you should apply.

The TEF has provided training, mentoring and funding to 15,847 African start-ups from 54 African countries, selected from over 800,000 applications with more still counting.

How do I win the Tony Elumelu Foundation Grant?

Via the influence of the TEF, over 409,000 jobs have been created in Africa Over 100,00 people have benefitted from TEF’s strategic business webinars and masterclasses designed to help entrepreneurs and their businesses.

Here are some tips that can help you win the TEF $5k Business grant.

1. Come up with a business Idea.

Coming up with a business idea remains a daunting task for every entrepreneur, but you can be done if the right steps are taken.

Africa has so many problems, which provides an avenue for a viable business idea. Do you have a talent or proven track record that could become the basis of a profitable business?

This is a perfect time to make use of this opportunity. I wrote a comprehensive guide on some viable business ideas in Nigeria. Check out the link to the article below to learn more.

2. Come up with a business plan.

Every great business that ever was, had a business plan documented by the founder of such business.

A great business plan can help you clarify your strategy, identify potential roadblocks, decide, and evaluate the viability of your idea or your growth plans before you start a business.

Not every successful business launches with a formal business plan, but many founders find value in taking time to step back and research their idea and the market they’re looking to enter.

To increase your chances of winning the TEF grants you need to have an existing business plan of how your idea is to be executed.

In the recent years of the TEF, entrepreneurs were given a template by the organization to help entrepreneurs without a business plan fill in details of how they intend their businesses to run.

3. Come up with an MVP.

No one wants to invest money in a business only to discover that it has no market.

An MVP is the answer to innovative business development. An MVP (Minimum viable product) is a basic, launchable version of the product that is designed to test how receptive such a business is in the market.

You need to prove to TEF that your business will be successful and one way to do this is to have an MVP, something that works, customers you have sold to, and income that your business has generated over time.

This serves as a measure as to whether your business deserves to receive funding or not.

4. Social Proof is important.

Social proof in business means your business has gotten useful feedback from its customers such as reviews, recommendations and testimonials.

Social proof in marketing takes the form of reviews, existing customers, media coverage and more.

One way to generate social proof is to build an active social media following for your business and generate feedback through it.

Make sure to provide respective social media links when submitting your applications to the TEF, to boost your chances of approval.

I wrote a comprehensive guide in this blog on how you can grow your business on all social media platforms and become successful.

5. Register Your business.

Another criterion that needs to be met for your business to be selected for the TEF $5K grants is the need to formally register your business.

Having your business registered makes your business eligible for investments, loans and the ability to operate as a standalone entity.

Also, you get a chance to bank on a legit business name instead of your name. Did you know that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has made it possible for you to register your company and business name online?

Anyone can register a business in Nigeria by visiting the official website of Corporate Affairs in Nigeria.

6. Open a UBA corporate bank account.

Next is to open a corporate UBA bank account to receive your TEF funds if eventually you get granted.

Once your business plans get approved and you emerge amongst the few to be selected, you would be asked to open a Corporate UBA bank account to receive your paycheck.

You would not be asked to do this until you get to the awarding stage, but it’s better to be ahead of everyone so you dont begin to rush things.

7. Apply and be Hopeful.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is created to empower women and men across the African continent through entrepreneurship to catalyse economic growth, drive poverty eradication and ensure job creation on the continent.

Tony Elumelu is fond of advocating for the role of luck when it comes to success.
Here are his quotes:

Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, we seek to democratise luck.
Hard work plays an important and undeniable part in success, but one must not discount the role of luck.

There is no perfect way to apply, not everyone is going to be successful at the first attempt, nonetheless, you have to be hopeful.

Just before you leave, It would pay you to stay some minutes and surf this blog to get more insight into online marketing.

I wrote a comprehensive guide in this blog on the lucrative business you can start in Nigeria both offline and online. Check out the link to the article to learn more.

Also, here is a link to apply to the TEF foundation program.


What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

Hello, I'm Udemezue John, a web developer and digital marketer with a passion for financial literacy.

I have always been drawn to the intersection of technology and business, and I believe that the internet offers endless opportunities for entrepreneurs and individuals alike to improve their financial well-being.

You can connect with me on Twitter


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