A mentor with the Tony Elumelu Foundation has revealed what a business should possess to be shortlisted for the foundation’s grant

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Recently, the Tony Elumelu Foundation released the list of entrepreneurs who made the shortlist for the 2017 cohorts of its Entrepreneurship Programme. In fulfillment of its 10-year vision to empower 10,000 entrepreneurs across the African continent, the foundation selects 1000 businesses annually from the pool of applicants. This year, about 93,000 applications received from across the 55 African countries.

While selected candidates have been happy for making the shortlist, some entrepreneurs whose business did not make it to the next phase have become curious about what the foundation considers in a business for it to be worthy of  being shortlisted. In a Facebook post, an applicant wonders “what criteria they use for selection.”

Read also: Can the Tony Elumelu Foundation fulfill its 10-year vision of empowering 10,000 African Entrepreneurs?


A post by one of the applicants via Facebook

For a fact, there has been very little information available for entrepreneurs around the consideration for selection. However, a one-time beneficiary of the programme, who is currently a mentor for shortlisted entrepreneurs, has opened the lid on this pain-point of many applicants saying it isn’t about how lofty a business is/sounds. Rather, primacy is given to businesses that are easy to understand by the judges, and it also helps if such businesses have a social problem they solve. According to him, a business that solves, say, health related problems stands a higher chance of being selected than other business with no social value proposition.

See the beneficiary’s comment below:

SniperTbenConsidering that the Foundation itself aims to solve a social problem in the continent, it is only normal it has a bias for business/business ideas that have found a way to incorporate solutions to social challenges in Africa.

Dear entrepreneur, it is not enough that your business (will) generates enough profit, what problems does it solve in the society? What social value does it create? If you can answer this and communicate it clearly in cluttered terms, hopefully your business will make next year’s shortlist.

Good luck as you apply these tips.


I'm interested in stories, news and opportunities for African entrepreneurs. Be it tech, fashion, SMEs; breaking entrepreneurship stories is the next best thing that can happen to me, after Jollof

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