How to apply for Tony Elumelu Foundation grant and everything you need to know


Deadline: 31st March, 2021

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)—Africa’s leading philanthropy focused on empowering African entrepreneurs—is looking for the most innovative business ideas across the African continent to apply for its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme.

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is the $100million commitment of Tony O. Elumelu, CON, an African investor and philanthropist, to identify, mentor, and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years, with the goal of creating millions of jobs and revenue on the continent.  With the support of partners, the Programme has scaled its commitment beyond its own commitment of funding 10,000 African entrepreneurs.


  • The Programme is open to all Africans
  • Aged 18 years and above.
  • All Applications must be for a Business Idea or business less than 3 years
  • Business idea must be for profit, focused on one business area only and must be the original idea of the Applicant.
  • The Business or Business Idea must not be for any illegal or unethical purpose.

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The following categories of persons are not eligible to apply:

  • Employees from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, companies within the Heirs Holdings (HH) Group, affiliates of HH and their Immediate Family Members either individually or as part of a Business.
  • Research institutions, faith-based organisations, government agencies and Businesses not located in Africa will not be eligible to apply for the Programme.

Applicants must create an account and complete an online entry form by answering a series of mandatory questions and uploading the required documents (including identification documents).

Upon submission of the Application, an email confirming receipt will be sent to the Applicant within 1 business day. Once submitted, Applications cannot be altered or amended.


  • Only Applications received during the Application Window shall be considered.
  • Applicants are not required to make any purchase or payment in order to access TEFConnect
  • Only one Application is permitted per Applicant for a Business Idea or Business.
  • All Applications must be made directly by the Applicant behind the Business Idea or Business being submitted for the Programme.

The Applicants are responsible for ensuring they are able to participate in the Programme as set out in these Terms & Conditions. They must also (in the case of companies/partnerships/co-ownerships/joint ventures) provide proof of consent from partners, directors and shareholders for their participation as representatives of a Business.


  • Multiple applications by the same Applicant whether using the same or different names, email addresses, Business Idea or Business.
  • Applications by TEF Alumni or their Business Partner.
  • Applications by persons disqualified under any previous TEF programme.
  • Incomplete and incorrect application
  • Applications which contain illegal or unethical Businesses or Business Ideas.


The Programme is made up of the following stages all of which form the Programme cycle:

Successful applicants will be categorised into one of the following categories:

  • Start-Up,
  • Innovator,
  • Disruptor (“Training Categories”)

Unsuccessful Applicants will be categorised as Preparatory and will be directed to take the Free Startup Enterprise Toolkit on TEFConnect and will be eligible to reapply for other TEF Programmes.

Successful Applicants will have to be verified and onboarded. Verification will run for the duration of the Startup Enterprise Toolkit™.

Successful Applicants who do not meet the verification requirements will be removed from the Programme and notified of removal via email.

Programme Participants will have access to a Mentor to provide guidance and support to them during the Programme.

Programme Participants are expected to meet all mentoring requirements including the minimum contact hours and completion of weekly surveys.

Once Successful Applicants are onboarded, they proceed to the training stage and are granted access to undertake the Foundation’s proprietary Startup Enterprise Toolkit™ on TEFConnect based on the respective Training Categories.

The Startup Enterprise Toolkit™ will run for a period of 12 weeks during which Programme Participants’ progress will be tracked and assessed It shall be made available in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.

Upon completion of the last week of Startup Enterprise Toolkit™ Programme Participants will be assessed and top scoring Programme Participants will be notified via email that they will be proceeding to the Business Plan preparation stage.

Programme Participants who do not complete this stage or do not proceed beyond this stage of the Programme will be removed from the Programme and be notified via email.

ALSO READ: TEF 2020 Update: Tony Elumelu Foundation’s update on the Entrepreneurship Program for 2020 Applicants

Programme Participants shortlisted from the business training stage will be given 2 weeks to develop and submit a business plan via TEFConnect for review and assessment, based on relevant metrics including feasibility and sustainability. Programme Participants must submit their Business Plans by the required deadline to be eligible for consideration for the next stage.

The top scoring Programme Participants from this stage will be notified via email and will proceed to the Pitching Competition stage.

Any Programme Participant who does not complete this stage of the Programme or is not successful at this stage will be removed from the Programme and notified of removal via email.

A training certificate will be issued to all Programme Participants who are successful at the Business Plan stage and they will be categorised as TEF Trainees.

Top scoring Programme Participants shortlisted from the business plan stage will participate in the Pitching Competition where they will pitch their business plans to a panel of judges.

Top scoring Programme Participants from the Pitching Competition will be selected based on a predetermined selection criteria and will be eligible to receive the Seed Capital.

Programme Participants who are not selected from the Pitching Competition to receive the Seed Capital will be notified via email and will be categorised as TEF Trainees.

Any Programme Participant who does not complete this stage of the Programme will be removed from the Programme and notified of removal via email.

ALSO READ: TEF 2020 Update: Steps To Revalidate Your Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) 2020 Application

The Selected Entrepreneurs from the Pitching Competition will be announced on the Foundation’s website and also notified via email.

There will be a buffer list made up of Programme Participants who have scores closest to the Selected Entrepreneurs from the Pitching Competition. Funding slots which subsequently become available shall be filled from the Buffer List. Programme Participants who are on the Buffer List will not be informed until they receive an offer due to a funding slot becoming available.

Any Programme Participant who has received an offer shall be required to confirm acceptance within the required timeline. Failure to accept within the required timeline shall invalidate the offer. Where the offer is successfully accepted, then such Programme Participant shall be regarded as a Selected Entrepreneur and required to meet all applicable conditions to receive the seed capital.

Communication with Applicants and Programme Participants on Programme updates and announcements shall primarily be by email to the email address provided on the Application form, and via TEFConnect. The Promoter may choose to also contact Applicants and Programme Participants by phone but is not obliged to.


  • Business Training
  • Mentorship
  • $5,000 non-refundable seed capital
  • Global Networking Opportunities

The application portal opens January 1 and closes midnight, March 31, 2021.

Apply HERE

For more information visit the official webpage of TEF 2021

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