How To Win The $5000 Tony Elumelu Foundation Grant

tony elumelu entrepreneurship programme

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Opens It Portal To African Entrepreneurs - 2020
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Opens It Portal To African Entrepreneurs - 2020

Last Updated on


Getting access to seed grants as a small business owner have become a major challenge in Nigeria with financial institution who are becoming unwilling to lend business owner and entrepreneurs Loans to start up and set up their businesses.

tony elumelu entrepreneurship programme

In an attempt to curb this irregularities some very brave personalities have stood out amidst all economic downturn to assist the Nigerian people and one of those elegant personalities that we are going to be discussing today is Mr Tony Elumelu.

Who Is Tony Elumelu.

Tony Elumelu was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, in 1963. He hails from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.



View this post on Instagram


Just leaving the office @ubagroup May God bless our #hustles in 2020 #TOEWay #Africapitalism #Selfie #HappyNewYear #UBAHouse

A post shared by Tony O. Elumelu (@tonyoelumelu) on

He has two degrees in economics from Nigerian universities, a bachelor’s degree from Ambrose Alli University and a master of science degree from the University of Lagos.

Tony Elumelu married Awele Vivien Elumelu, a medical doctor, in 1993, and they have seven children together.

He has four siblings, one of whom is Ndudi Elumelu, a member of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives. He is the cousin of legendary Nigerian reggae artiste, Ras Kimono.

Tony Elumelu  is also a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Elumelu holds the Nigerian national honors, the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2003.

He was recognized as one of Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People in 2012 by Forbes magazine.

His net worth has been estimated to be over US$700 Million as of 2015 as listed by Forbes.

About The Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African private-sector-led philanthropy focused on empowering African entrepreneurs. Program is the $100 Million commitment by the Elumelu family to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period.

The goal is to create at least 1 Million jobs and contribute over $10 billion in revenue to the African economy.

Following his retirement from United Bank for Africa in July 2010, Elumelu founded The Tony Elumelu Foundation. His stated objective was to prove that the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.

The Foundation is charged with the mission of driving Africa’s economic development by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector.

Mission and Vision Of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is the $100million commitment by the Elumelu family to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period.

The goal is to create at least 1million jobs and contribute over $10billion in revenue to the African economy.

Through its flagship Entrepreneurship Program, the Foundation empowers African entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurship ecosystem across 54 African countries.

The Foundation has empowered 7,531 entrepreneurs thus far.

The Program is built on a 7-pillar model, a unique holistic system of effective and intensive support to the African entrepreneurs, consisting of startup enterprise toolkit, online mentoring, online resource library, meet-ups, TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, seed capital and alumni network.

How To Apply for the Tony Elumelu $5000 Seed grants.

I am very pleased to announce to entrepreneurs who have not heard of this opportunity before in their entire lives and is willing to give their business an opportunity to be among the beneficiaries or previous applicants who have tried in time past but did not get any luck that the The Tony Elumelu Foundation has scheduled the opening of its portal for 2020 applicants on the 1st of January 2020.

All aspiring entrepreneurs should therefore take note of the following requirements and follow the mentioned steps below.

1. The program is open to all citizens and legal residents of any one of the 54 African countries.

2. Applicants must be 18 years old and must not be considered a minor in their country of residence.
3. All businesses must be business ideas or an early stage company, in the range of 0 to 3 years old.

tony elumelu foundation requirements

4. All applications are made directly on the TEF CONNECT PORTAL ,kindly login and sign up to the TEF connect portal to learn more.

tef entrepreneurship programme

Why you will not win the Tony Elumelu $5000 Seed grants.

Despite the openness of the Tony Elumelu Foundation most people still find it hard to pitch and win the Tony Elumelu Foundation grant and here are the few reasons why you will not win.

1 .Late Submission

It has been  discovered that when the portal opens for registration. Alot of people rush in and starts the registration process but and the first, second page.

They save and promise to continue later but eventually comes back two days to the deadline.
Don’t do that please.

The Grant is becoming more competitive. Applicants increase in number yearly. So, this year will not be different.

My advice be among the set that registers and submit within the first week of the portal opening. Won’t guarantee your selection, but gives you an edge over late comers, most especially when you have a killer-idea.

2. Unrealistic Financials

If you are already in business – that is your idea is a year or two old already.

Then, you must be able to articulate accurate figures of what you are selling, including your cost of operation, selling price, profit margin and all other vital information.

And if you are at the idea stage. Your financial assumptions must make sense – reasonble projections not building castle in the air e,g I will make 1billion after 5month (what are you selling?) Be realistic – what are you selling, how much are you selling, profit after sales etc.

3. Lack Of Social Impact

Tony Elumelu Foundation is not an investment company who want to share profit with you.

And so, they are concern about your impact dimension.

How many lives will you touch – and how are you touching them.

So, be clear to explain your impact metrics.

How many people will you impact directly and indirectly. Add the numbers, they matter. You will have better chances if you impact 100 people and above.

Story writting is a crucial part of the application. Because it somehow exposes your humanity in the procoss. It shows whether you own the idea or business.

Show’s if you truely care about impact of just the money.

So, it’s not enough to have a great idea or business. If you must win the $5000, you must have a great story to back up your idea to really win.


4. Zero Value Proposition

This is big and that is why is last on my list. If your value proposition is weak or fake. Forget winning the grant.

If what your idea or business is offering is what 2000 other persons are offering then no point – just go and work for the other guys

So, you have to bring something unique to the table.

Lot of people can be running a cat fish farm – whats different about yours?

The difference is the key to successful application. SO, FIND IT.

And my bonus ….. infuse technology to your idea and or business no matter what it is. They selection committee care about tech-inclusiveness in your idea.

Whether it be a website or a mobile app just make sure something techy is included.

2020 TEF Updates.

This year the Tony Elumelu has taken a u turn and they decided to change their style a little bit, in case you are a previous applicant and you have applied in the previous years then you might be shocked to discover that the application strategy has changed.

Anyway dont fear be of Good cheers, the organizers of the TEF wants to screen entrepreneurs more deeply than they usually do.

So after applying you might get this kind of email saying that you are an

  • Innovator.
  • Green Horn
  • Disruptor

Here are what they mean.


What does my assigned training path mean?

Based on your answers to the assessment questions, the system profiles you and places you in the appropriate training path as follows:

• Greenhorn – This means you are a starter according to the business start-up profiling. You will go through the general training on TEFConnect. You will, however, not be eligible for mentorship or seed capital.

• Innovator – This means that you have been profiled to be an intermediate entrepreneur. You have a good potential to be a successful entrepreneur. You will go through the Intermediate training modules and you will be assigned a mentor during the program. Based on your performance through the training program, you will stand a chance to pitch your business in person to the set of judges for final selection to receive seed capital.

• Disruptor – This means that you are or identified to be natural or a seasoned entrepreneur. You will go through the Advanced training modules and you will be assigned a mentor during the program. Based on your performance through the training program, you will stand a chance to pitch your business in person to the set of judges for final selection to receive seed grant.

Frequently Asked Question About the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Just in case you might have any sort of question bothering your mind then this section is here to answer you.

Program Eligibility

1. Who can apply?

The program is open to all citizens and legal residents of any one of the 54 African countries. The proposed business must be registered and operate in Africa.

2. Is there an age restriction for applicants?

Yes. Applicants must be 18 years old and must not be considered a minor in their country of residence. There is no upper-limit age restriction.

3. Is there a restriction on the types of business/industry?

Yes. The program is not open to research institutions, faith based organisations, value adding trading companies, government contractors and businesses not located in Africa. Businesses must not adversely affect the environment, lives and property. Business ideas must be for profit, and must be the original work of those making the submission.

4. Is there a restriction on the age of my business?

Yes. All businesses must be business ideas or an early stage company, in the range of 0 to 3 years old.

5. What if I run multiple early-stage businesses?

Your application must focus on ONE business only. We advise choosing your best, most feasible/innovative business idea. Selected entrepreneurs are not permitted to apply for future cohorts of the program, even with a different business idea or name.

6. Will my start-up be excluded if I have a relation/family member who works for the TEF?

Yes. Current employees or their family members from the Tony Elumelu Foundation and affiliate companies in the Heirs Holdings Group and UBA Group are not eligible to apply for the TEF Entrepreneurship Program, either individually or as part of a team.

Program Application Process

1. How do I apply for the program?

All applications must be submitted ONLINE through the application platform of the TEF Connect . You must complete an application form by answering a series of mandatory questions.

After submission, you will receive a confirmation email of receipt within 1 working day.

2. What if my company is a partnership?

Only one nominated person from the business or the partnership may join the program. You must have consent from all partners, and have and equal or majority share to participate.

3. Can I apply offline?

No. All applications must be submitted online through the TEFConnect only.

4. What if English is not my first language?

The application form is in English, French and Portuguese.

5. What are the important dates and deadlines that I need to be aware of for the application?

The TEFConnect application platform is open from midnight on 1st January, to midnight on 1st March. It will not be possible to submit any applications prior to or after these dates.

6. What information/identification do I need to provide in my application?

You must answer all the mandatory questions in the application form, and provide accurate and up-to-date information.

7. How many applicants will be chosen to join the programme?

There are 1,000 places available annually for the applications that are reviewed by Accenture and ultimately selected by the Selection Committee for a placement in the programme

8. Are there application/associated fees?

No. The Tony Elumelu Foundation does not charge any applicants a fee for applying to the programme.

Program Selection Process

1.How are selected applicants chosen to join the programme?

Selection of the applicants will take place from the close of the Application on March 1st, by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and an independent Selection Committee appointed by the Foundation, against the specified selection criteria.

2. By what criteria are the applicants to be judged?

All applications will be judged on 5 core criteria, which are:

-Feasibility of the business idea.

– Market Opportunity: knowledge and understanding of the market, customers and competitors for their idea/business.

– Financial Understanding: understanding of the basic financial requirements of running a business, costs and revenues.

– Scalability: Demonstrates potential for replication and growth of their product or service to create jobs and wealth.

– Leadership Potential and Entrepreneurial Skills: Demonstrate leadership potential, capable of attracting people, customers and resources.

3. The Tony Elumelu Foundation itself is located in Nigeria, does this give preference to Nigerian entrepreneurs?

No. The TEF Entrepreneurship Program is a Pan-African program and open to business ideas from all the 54 African countries from which we will select the best business ideas for the program.

4. If my start-up is selected to join the program, when and how will I be informed?

Successful applicants will be notified on the 22nd of March, via the email address designated in the initial application. The list of selected entrepreneurs will also be posted on the TEF Website.

5. What additional information must I supply once my business is selected?

If Applicants are offered a place in the Program, Applicants will be expected to:

– complete a self-declaration form,
– provide proof of valid ID,
– provide a personal bank statement from the past 6 months,
– provide a statement of current personal debts,
– provide a reference from an employer, bank and/or academic institutions;
– Provide business bank account details (For UBA present countries, it must be a UBA account)

6. Why was my application unsuccessful?

Since inception we have received over 65,000 applications for the limited spaces on the program, while we can only accept 1000 entrepreneurs each year. Here are a few possible reasons why your application was not successful:

– You did not complete the application
– Your business or idea is more than 3 years old
– Your business or idea is not based in Africa
– Your descriptions in one or more sections of the application was not clearly described
– Your application did not meet other eligibility criteria
– You scored low in one or more of the selection criteria.

7. How can I improve my chances next year?

Ensure that you review the selection criteria in the next program cycle and be sure to describe your business plan or idea such that every aspect of the business or idea (i.e. description, market, customer acquisition, financials etc.) is fully covered.

8. Is there a waiting list for Applicants who could join the program?

Yes there is a waiting list. If any of the selected 1000 do not claim their places by the set deadline, the next best entrepreneur from the waiting list will be chosen before commencement of the programme cycle.

9. If not selected, can I reapply in another program cycle?

Yes. We will open the platform for applications on January 1 every year. Each applicant will be required to put in a fresh application. We believe the elapsed time should serve to refresh your interest in your entrepreneurial objectives, and there might be new developments to include in the application.



The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Mentors are highly experienced professionals, business front runners and entrepreneurs with vast knowledge and excellence in their fields, who want to help the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

2. How do I become a TEF ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME mentor/how can I volunteer my services as an experienced entrepreneur?

Experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to volunteer as TEF Entrepreneurship Program mentors, can apply here.

3. When do I get a mentor?

All successful applicants will be matched with a mentor from the start of the programme 1st May until the end of the year/cycle.

4. Can I choose my own mentor/mentee?

No. Mentors will be assigned to each start-up by the TEF team. Mentors will be assigned based on compatibility criteria such as business/industry experience and country.

5. Will the mentorship relationship be one-to-one?

Each start-up mentee will have one assigned mentor, although each mentor may have more than one start-up to work with. Mentors will be expected to have a minimum number of contact hours with each start-up mentee.

6. What is the mentor’s role in my business?

The mentor’s role is to use their vast business knowledge and experience help you succeed in completing the 12-week start-up enterprise toolkit programme, tackle real-life business obstacles and help you to improve your business along the way.

7. Do I have the same mentor for the entire programme?

Yes. But you will also be able to engage with other entrepreneurs, alumni and mentors on the TEFConnect.

8. Can I retain the mentorship relationship outside and beyond the programme?

The majority of the mentoring engagement will occur on the TEFConnect. However, if relating externally is in the best interest of your business, it can be coordinated between yourself and your mentor.


1. How can my business qualify for funding?

Upon completion of the 12-week Start-up Enterprise Toolkit (learning) programme, certification of submitted business plan, provision of required documentation, business bank account, among other requirements, entrepreneurs will qualify for the first stage non-refundable seed capital of $5,000 (terms and conditions apply).

2. What funding options are available?

Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs who successfully complete the programme by meeting stipulated requirements and deadlines will be eligible for funding. There are two stages of funding available to entrepreneurs:

First stage seed capital funding of $5,000 (based on the official Central Bank of Nigeria exchange rate)– a non-returnable investment. Please see Terms and Conditions for clarification.
Second stage capital returnable investment – entrepreneurs will apply and be considered for this based on the viability of their business.

3. Is the initial seed capital amount a fixed sum?

Yes. The initial seed capital funding is fixed at $5,000.

4. How will the funds be dispersed?

The funds will be wired directly into the entrepreneur’s business bank account – personal accounts are not permissible. For those in UBA countries, the business account must be opened with UBA.


1. Can I complete the Start-up Enterprise Toolkit courses offline?

Yes. It is important to note that although all the course material is hosted on the TEFConnect, all assignments are practical (live learning). You can download the content and refer to it offline. You must, however, submit the tasks on the TEFConnect and they must be reviewed by your mentor.

2. Are all the courses/tasks in the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit compulsory?

Yes. Start-ups must complete all tasks in the 12-week programme.

3. Will the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit be relevant to my business model?

Yes. All the topics covered under the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit will be relevant to helping you improve your knowledge and practical business skills, no matter the industry.

4. Will the Start-Up Enterprise Toolkit be suited to my schedule?

Yes. Each week you will be given tasks to complete which are applicable to the day-to-day running of your business.


1. How do I get access to the Mentoring and Learning platform of the TEF Connect?

Selected entrepreneurs will be given a user name and password with which they can log into the TEFConnect.

2. What can I do on the TEFConnect?

The entire programme is hosted on the TEFConnect. Your engagement with your mentor and other entrepreneurs is done on the TEFConnect through one-to-one messaging, forums and live chats.
The Start-up Enterprise Toolkit learning programme is also hosted on TEFConnect.

You will have access to our curated online resources library of case studies, sample business plans, research documents, video presentations, and you can also communicate with members of the TEF Alumni Network.

3. Can I sign in with my social media accounts?

Yes. The TEFConnect application platform has a single sign-on functionality and can link with your LinkedIn or Facebook account.

4. Is the TEFConnect mobile-friendly?

Yes. The TEFConnect is accessible on your smartphones and tablets.


1. How will my personal information be used?

The name, country and profile of each successful applicant will be made available for PR purposes globally. Each individual will be asked to provide a profile and photo once they join the programme.

2. Who can access/view my profile on the TEFConnect?

The TEFConnect is a closed group, accessible only to the selected start-ups, mentors, alumni, the TEF team and selected partner organisations. Only those within this closed community will be able to view your profile and contact you on the TEFConnect.

3. Will my business’ Intellectual Property be protected?

All information housed on the TEFConnect is considered safe and secure.
Intellectual property shared with the Foundation in your application is completely confidential, and only shared amongst the TEF team, designated reviewers and the Selection Committee who have signed confidentiality agreements.

All parties in the programme are held to the highest ethical standards, however, the foundation is not liable for copyright infringement or intellectual property theft among entrepreneurs and mentors. Any individuals found to be in breach of this will be disqualified.


1. How can I contact representatives of the Foundation?

Selected Entrepreneurs and Alumni:

–Contact the TEF admin through TEFConnect
-Applicants and other enquiries:

– Email (,
– The contact page on the website

2. How do I stay connected to the Foundation even after I have concluded the programme?

All entrepreneurs who have successfully completed the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and collected their initial seed capital are automatically enrolled as members of the TEF Alumni Network.

3. What are the benefits of the TEF Alumni Network?

As a member of the TEF Alumni Network, you will have continued access to TEFConnect through “alumni” status (not start-up status). This gives you full access to our online resource library, peer to peer engagement, online and offline events notification and continued affiliation with the Foundation.

4. What happens if there are changes to my business model during the programme?

Applicants are solely responsible for the structure of the business and the team members within it. Once selected to join the programme, entrepreneurs’ businesses cannot be significantly altered or amended.

5. How much time must I dedicate to the programme?

Selected and confirmed entrepreneurs must be available to commit to the annual programme from May to December in the application year.

6. Is attendance at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum mandatory?

Yes. All selected entrepreneurs must attend the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum in order to remain on the programme. Extenuating circumstances may be considered for non-attendance.

7. Will I need to fund my travel expenses to attend the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum?

Selected entrepreneurs travel to Nigeria for participation in the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum will be covered by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. The Foundation will advise entrepreneurs if this changes.

Mentors who are invited will be required to fund their own travel, unless otherwise agreed.

8. What if I require a visa to enter Nigeria for the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum?

The Tony Elumelu Foundation will provide an endorsement letter and supporting documentation (copy of flight booking, etc.) to make the process of obtaining a visa as smooth as possible.

No reimbursement is possible for visa costs, and you are solely responsible for applying for and securing an adequate visa for your travel. Please see Terms and Conditions






What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

Web developer| Digital Marketer| Entrepreneur


Leave a Reply

One Ping

  1. Pingback:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



5+ Long-Lasting Solutions To Depression You Should Know

How To Build A Successful Business In 2020