Top 10 Countries with Most TEEP 2017 Certified Startups and Some Founders’ Expectations

In its 3rd year running, the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), the flagship initiative of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) established in 2010 has accepted 3000 applications from young African entrepreneurs whose startups stand the chance of transforming Africa. The man behind this brilliant concept is Mr. Tony O. Elumelu who is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Africa, a respected investor and philanthropist at heart.

TEEP has the vision of creating 10,000 startups across Africa within the next 10 years that generate significant employment and wealth, that is, the creation of “at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in revenues across Africa over 10 years.”

As the initiative becomes successful, we see that interest from entrepreneurs across the continent has peaked with applications totalling over 93,000 in 2017 alone, with only the BEST 1000 applicants selected. A constant figure for its ten year period. From 1st January to 1st March every year, entrepreneurs can apply mainly from these sectors though not limited to agriculture, ICT, housing, media, education, transportation, textiles and manufacturing.

We can derive varying understandings from statistics but of interest to us is which countries had the most representatives and what it tells about where the startup powerhouses in Africa will be in the the coming years.

We give the top 10 countries with most certified TEEP Start-ups for 2017.

1.       NIGERIA
2.       UGANDA
3.       KENYA
4.       TANZANIA
5.       GHANA
7.       RWANDA
8.       COTE D’IVOIRE
9.       ZAMBIA

See the full list: TEEP 2017 Entrepreneurs.

We interacted with some of the lucky startups to know how they feel being part of the few chosen and what their expectations are going into the 2017 programme.

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First is Tom-Chris Emewulu from Ghana, the President and Founder of Stars From All Nations; a social enterprise bridging the gap between education and work.

Firstly, I feel really excited to be selected, and this goes to show that our work has tremendous value. I feel that my selection is equally a source of hope and inspiration for other young entrepreneurs who have been following our work at SFAN these past three years. This is a proof to them that if you are diligent with what you do, if you apply yourself to do it right – with faith in God and confidence in your abilities – the right results are really enormous.
I’ve always believed and experience has validated that apart from a paying customer, there are 3 basic things every entrepreneur needs in order to survive, especially at the early stages. These are: 1) A great tribe with which to share your wins and your lessons; 2) A good mentor to help you navigate the fogs and moments of doubt in your journey and 3) Financing.
I think the Tony Elumelu FDN is a very important initiative because it addresses these components with a deliberate approach. So my expectation going for this immersive programme is to network with founders and doers across the 55 participating countries, learn best practices that can be adapted to our work and ecosystem, access mentors who will help us take our work to the next and higher level and of course improve my pipelines for further funding.

Kelechi Udoagwu, a Nigerian and founder of Skrife, a company that helps brands create original written content via their community of high quality freelancers and editors. Also the community manager of MEST Africa.

I feel blessed to have been selected from such a large number of applicants. Going into the programme, I look forward to being connected to a network of ambitious entrepreneurs and mentors, and learning more about product-market fit and tips to scale globally in a shorter time.

Ujeneza Mbabazi Fabrise, 27, from Rwanda, an entrepreneur by passion and profession. She has a degree in Entrepreneurship and Diploma in Education who works as the MD at Entrepreneurs Training Network (ETN) Ltd. and also involved in volunteering works in other organizations across Rwanda.

I am blessed to be chosen from the over 93,000 applicants in the #TEF2017 programme; including 22 other fellow Rwandans. My project is about training Rwandans in tailoring and handbags making. As our country is promoting Made in Rwanda products and minimizing the rate of importation of second-hand clothes, I realized that our people need to learn how to make our own clothes. I believe that “a practical skill is an asset” and this made me apply to this year’s TEEP. I expect to learn more from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme!
I do appreciate people who think about entrepreneurship because it is the only way to reduce unemployment; not only in giving money to young ones, but also mentoring young entrepreneurs in getting profit while resolving their society’s problems.
The sky is no longer the limit! Thank you.

Nghombombong Epaphrate Minuifuong, the co-founder of eFarm – a web and mobile platform for buying and selling agricultural produce – from Cameroun.

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Honestly I can’t express my feelings after I got the news, but I believe I almost jumped off the bus. I was so happy I made it after applying for the second time coupled with the fact that I went through hell to apply; no internet access in my region, burden of traveling and constant power cuts where I submitted my application are just some of the hurdles I went through. So being selected from more than 93,000 applicants is clear evidence that God wiped my tears away.
I expect to exchange with entrepreneurs across Africa, hear their stories and learn from them. Build networks, meet mentors who will help us through our journey and I also believe I will work hard to be eligible for the $5000 grant which is penury for my startup.

Finally, Rahim Abas Kiobya from Tanzania, who runs the project Data for Sustainable Development in Tanzania. A trainer and creator of geospitial-apps whose vision is to change the society’s way of doing business.

It was very difficult to believe I was chosen from the huge list of applications received but it is something very special for me and my career. Among other things, I wish to use that grant or money in the implementation of my project of Data for Local Impact initiative.

What all the startups hope is to be able to land the seed funding of $5000 which is non-returnable and further financing from the programme. For those who have failed to make it into TEEP this year, you can still try again until 2025 to access your share of the 10-year $100 million commitment investment programme.

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